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Aft(> Wash ' n fit. Boston 



WAR Stories 



Selected and Edited by 
ROY J. HOLMES 

Head of the Department of English, Jamestown College 
yamestaum. North Dakota 

and 
A. STARBUCK 

Department of English, Iowa State College 
Ames, Iowa 



NEW YORK 



THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY 



PUBLISHERS 






HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY 

BEQUEST OF 

WINWARD PREBCOn 

JANUARY 27, 1933 



Copyright, 19 1 9, 
By Thomas Y. Crowell Company 



To the authors of these stories ^ who 

by their writings 
have given us all a deeper signifi- 
cance of war in its many phases^ 
this book is dedicated 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

The Editors wish to make grateful acknowledgment 
for permission to use the following stories : 

To The Saturday Evening Post and Thomas Beer for 
"Absent Without Leave/' to McClure's and Gouverneur 
Morris for " Behind the Door," to The Outlook and 
Donal H. Haines for '" Bill," to The Century and Mary 
Mitchell Freedly for " BHnd Vision," to Harper's and 
Laura Spencer Porter for " The Boy's Mother," to The 
Ladies' Home Journal and Dana Burnet for " The Christ- 
mas Fight of X 157," to The Ladies' Home Journal and 
Margarita Spalding Gerry for " The Flag Factory," to 
The Ladies' Home Journal and Francis W. Sullivan for 
" The Godson of Jeanette Gontreau," to The Saturday 
Evening Post and Will Payne for " His Escape," to The 
Ladies' Home Journal and James Francis Dwyer for 
" The Little Man in the Smoker," to The Cosmopolitan 
and Alden Brooks for " Out of the Sky," to The Ladies' 
Home Journal and George Palmer Putnam for " The 
Sixth Man," to Ainslee's and Robert W. Sneddon for **A 
Son of Belgium," to Everybody's and. Gilbert Emery for 
" Squads Right," to the Cosmopolitan and Gouverneur 
Morris for '* The Unsent Letter," to The Saturday Even- 
ing Post and Booth Tarkington for " Captain Schlotter- 
werz," to The Saturday Evening Post and William H. 
Osborne for " Infamous Inoculation," to Scribner's and 
Donn Byrne for " Underseaboat F-33/' to The Sat- 
urday Evening Post and George Weston for " The 
Feminine Touch," to The Metropolitan and Edna Ferber 
for " One Hundred Per Cent," and to McClure's and 
Dana Burnet for " Red, White and Blue." 



PREFACE 

Not so very long ago a good many people measured the 
value of medicine by the simple standard of taste; the 
worse the taste, the better the medicine. By reversing this 
logic, they came to the conclusion that any medicine which 
happened to be agreeable could be of no value at all. For- 
tunately the medical profession has done away with this 
idea, with the result that pills and powders are now made 
as pleasant to take as possible. 

In the teaching of English, the same unfortunate idea 
has persisted. Teachers decry any possible value in a 
subject which is to be merely enjoyed. This seems to 
be true especially in the study of the Short Story. With 
but a few exceptions, the average short story text con- 
tains only those narratives of which both the author and 
the subject matter are dead. This fact is much to be 
deplored. The average student is interested only in facts 
of to-day and to-morrow. He is concerned about the 
past, only in so far as it presents him with terms of solu- 
tion for the present and future. The stories which deal 
only with past events become tiresome. Furthermore, as 
soon as the student leaves the classroom, he finds an en- 
tirely different type — stories full of action, and which 
deal in present-day ideas; stories that are alive. Short 
story reading is, in fact, a national pastime. 

An added incentive to the short story habit has been 
furnished by the war. So long as events in general were 
normal, any modern short story, if well executed, might 
prove mildly interesting. But we have recently passed 
through the greatest possible concentration of thought 
and emotion, because of that tremendous struggle, the 
world war. Everything has been thought out in terms of 
war ; every act in life has been subordinated to war, with 
the result that the people of this nation have been forged 

vii 



viii PREFACE 

into a definite unit, which previously was not thought 
possible. Naturally, the literature revealing this pro- 
found reaction on people and conditions is the Short 
Story. 

This volume of war stories, therefore, has been col- 
lected with two objects in view : to give the general reader 
a group of some of the best war stories in convenient 
form; and to supply the student with fresh and interest- 
ing material which should be just as valuable to illus- 
trate the necessary technic of the Short Story, as the old 
type that for so many years has been thought essential. 

The stories are American throughout; American 
authors, American characters, American reactions. In 
selecting them, the Editors have attempted to include 
examples which would illustrate as many different phases 
of war as possible. No attempt has been made to suggest 
any special approach to the stories, as such suggestions 
are usually a waste of time. The average instructor pre- 
fers to plan out his own method. However, with the 
inherent interest of the subject, and the different re- 
actions depicted, there should be no difficulty in obtaining 
interesting and valuable points for class discussion. 

The Editors wish to acknowledge gratefully, the kind 
permissions from authors and publishers to use the 
stories, for which separate mention is made. They wish 
to thank especially ProfesBor James Cloyd Bowman for 
his invaluable aid at all times. 



CONTENTS 



Absent Without Leave 

Out of the Sky .... 

The Christmas Fight of X 157 . 

•• Red, White and Blue ** . 

Underseaboat F-33 

The Little Man in the Smoker 

"Squads Right" 

One Hundred Per Cent 

Blind Vision . . . . 

The Flag Factory 



Bill .... 
Behind the Door . 
The Unsent Letter 
Infamous Ij^oculation 
His Escape . 
The Boy's Mother 
The Sixth Man . 
The Godson of Jeanette 

TREAU 

A Son of Belgium 
Captain Schlotterwerz 
The Feminine Touch . 
Appendix 



Gon- 



Thomas Beer 

Alden Brooks 

Dana Burnet 

Dana Burnet 

Donn Byrne 

James Francis Dwyer 

Gilbert Emery 

Edna Ferber 

Mary Mitchell Freedly 

Margarita Spalding 
Gerry 

Donal H. Haines 

Gouvemeur Morris 

Gouvemeur Morris 

William H, Osborne 

Will Payne 

Laura Spencer Porter 217 

George Palmer Putnam 233 



I 

17 

39 

49 
61 

79 
86 

95 
119 

126 
136 
145 

155 
166 

196 



Francis W, Sullivan . 243 

Robert W, Sneddon . 262 

Booth Tarkingion , 276 

George Weston . . 299 

Short biographical 
sketches of the con- 
tributors to this vol- 
ume . . • . 323 



IX 



War Stories 



Absent Without Leave 

By Thomas Beer 



Sergeant Cobb replaced another non-commissioned 
officer, suddenly commissioned, at the recruiting station 
on South Street, Zerbetta, Ohio, during that simmering 
week when the nation lurched into war. He found this 
unknown town far less tedious than its census rating had 
suggested upon his inquiry. It held, pressed between 
the court-house and the railroad yards, a munitions 
plant — the Zerbetta Tool and Machinery Works ; and an 
entire regiment of the State National Guard was quar- 
tered about the untidy factory, patrolling the bridges for 
a dozen miles each way, and raising the recruiting average 
so that his clerk and medical corporal rather complained. 
Boys of all shapes peered into the doorway and studied 
the posters with speculative frowns. Drawling farm- 
hands came in to talk it over with the sergeant and went 
away to consider. Worthy ladies leaped on him from 
corners of the square and requested exact shadings on 
the subject of military vice. He had no leisure for love 
or poker, and shipped, on Saturday night, twenty recruits 
to Columbus. 

" An* half of 'em named Hoffmeister or Himmel- 
garten," he said. to the clerk. 

" Well, the whole country round here's half German," 

* By permission of The Saturday Evening Post and Thomas Beer. 
Copyright, 191 8, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 



2 WAR STORIES 

the clerk yawned " The church these Germans go to 
is the biggest thing in town. My girl's German — Ger- 
man as Pilsener. Let's go beat a brass rail some." 

They invaded the largest bar of the square, and Cobb, 
smoking a cigar of merit, observed the flag above the 
court-house, made radiant every seventh minute by the 
search-light circling over the factory. It swayed and 
heaved like some curious gigantic blossom. He grew 
sentimental, being a brave man. 

" If I was ten years younger," he muttered, " I'd get 
back into the line an' stay there. I wish I was a kid. 
I was in 'ninety-eight. But hell! I've forgot my drill 
an' everythin'; I dunno a platoon from a colonel, no 
more. I " 

" Say, sergeant," — a National Guardsman leaned over 
the damp table — " how young'U you take a boy ? " 

" Nothin' under eighteen without parents' written 
consent," said Cobb with parrot promptness. 

" I thought so. There's some kids been askin' me." 

" Send 'em along, buddy. We're open six in the 
mornin' to six at night. If I was a kid," he mused, 
watching the flag, " I'd bust into it somehow — with or 
without." 

"I bet," said the clerk, "there's a lot of mammas 
wishing it was twenty-eight 'stead of eighteen." 

" Prob'ly ; but if I was a kid— I'd be eighteen," Cobb 
declared, " no matter how my birth certificate read." 

He repeated this several times, sipping beer and watch- 
ing the flag. Strolling back to the office he encountered 
his rival, the emissary of the United States Navy, on a 
comer, arguing with a gentleman of distressed appear- 
ance, before a grocery store. 

" I tell you," cried fhe collector of heroes, " it ain't 
going to do the boy a bit o' harm. S'posin' he does get 
tattooed? It ain't ever hurt me." 

" Well," wavered this parent, " I'll think it over. 
George, he's awful young to go way from his mother 



an' " 



That's right," said a female in the shadow of the 
grocery awning; "that's right, Misder Graham, Don't 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 3 

you let Georgie go off from his mother — to git killed in 
this fightin' " 

She locked a door and stepped under the corner lamp- 
light. The cones of gas burners were still pink inside the 
show window and her garments shed a scent suggestive 
of long companionship with many onions. 

" Well, Mis' ObermuUer," George's father asserted 
coldly enough, " if George was as big an' strong as your 
Otto I'd say yes in a minute. But " 

" Otto," she retorted, the accent very clear now, " iss 
not yet sefenteen, an' he stays right here at home — see? 
Up to eighteen he stays, see? Then if the Allies is still 
fightin' I gan't stop him, see? But they won't be," she 
chuckled. 

" Look here. Mis' ObermuUer," gasped Mr. Graham, 
"you oughtn't to say things like that! You'll get into 
trouble." 

" What for? I ain't said nothin', have I ? The Allies 
won't be fightin' — no. They'll of wibed Germany clear 
off the map, yes! An' the Star- Spangled Banner in 
driumph shall waf e ! " 

With this she turned and tramped off, her feet falling 
on the bricks of the square in a series of cheerful flaps. 
She resembled an Egyptian column as to outline. and her 
solidity impressed Cobb. He listened to the recessional 
with awe. 

*'An' it's no wonder they walked over Belgium," he 
said. 

" She'd ought to be locked up ! " sputtered the yeoman. 
" CJee, this is a fierce town ! Why, this ain't America ! " 

" Yes, 'tis ! " — Mr. Graham's civic spirit was roused — 
" but she's a real German. Conrad ObermuUer, he was 
all right an' his father fought in the Civil War ; but Con- 
rad, he married her down in Cincinnati. She took Otto 
out of high school 'cause the principal said the Kaiser'd 
ought to be hung. I guess I'll let George go, Mr. Mc- 
Carthy, but I'd like it if you'd see he gets a nice ship 
where there's a good doctor. His stomach ain't very 
strong." 

" Sure," said the naval emissary gravely and kindly ; 



4 WAR STORIES 

" ril look out for the kid. TU write an admiral I know 
pretty well about him. Good-night. If you'd hit Georgie 
with an ax," he informed Cobb presently, " you'd have 
to hunt up a grindstone right after; but they're all like 
that-^a kid's folks." 

" That Dutch woman," Cobb pondered, " ought to get 
stuck in one of these eternment camps. I expect she's 
got a iron cross in her top drawer now." 

Next morning he noted her as he walked "from very 
early breakfast, laying out cabbages under the awning. 
She was, he thought, a formidable woman. She reminded 
him extraordinarily of Quartermaster Sergeant Kelly's 
wife, who in his sight had dragged her husband from the 
bar of the Continental Hotel and conducted him across 
all Cheyenne by an ear to the sober boundaries of Fort 
Russell. The soapy yellow hair and the glittering blue 
eyes were the same ; likewise the breadth of shoulder. He 
shuddered, passing on, but vaguely saw a curly-headed 
hulking boy inside the shop. Otto, he assumed. He 
pitied Otto profoundly. 

Business that morning was rather slack. The candi- 
dates for Flanders were to be admired more for their 
zeal than their physical qualities. Cobb found time to 
wander over to the naval branch for some professional 
gossip, came back somewhat dispirited and was much 
soothed when four lads trickled in, a little nervous and 
giggling a good deal. Three were mere healthy, pros- 
perous-seeming objects; the fourth cheered the sergeant 
and made the slim clerk blink as he stood stiffly by the 
desk. 

" Son," he said jovially, " it'll take a heap of grub to 
keep you goin'. You'll be a awful expense to the Gov- 
ernment." 

" I don't eat much," protested the applicant, very red 
and wriggling under his shabby suit, too small in all 
dimensions. 

" Well, kid," Cobb assured him, " you'll get plenty. 
Now you boys give Henry, there, your names an* your 
folks' names, an' so on, he'll tell you what ; an' then let's 
see what you look like in your birthday clothes." 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 



f 



now I He bustled oif into the farther room, where the medical 
*Tgie corporal was drowsing over a paper. "Hey, Johnson! 
lave Take a look at what the cat brought in ! Nine feet long 
like , an' four feet thick." 

I Johnson glanced through the door and puckered his 
get lids, appraising expertly. 
;he's ' " Pret-ty good ! But he ain't eighteen." 

" That ? Why " The morning sun against the 

v^ery j boy's face halted his denial. " I dunno. He's not old at 
ling, f all. Say, big boy, how old are you ? " 
' ; " Eighteen." 

He flushed quaintly. A visor of red slid up from his 

Worn shirt collar to his egg-colored curly hair. Another 

I boy giggled sharply, then bit his mouth shut. Plainly 

' this was a lie, but Sergeant Cobb had no interest in the 

matter beyond amusement. 

i " Well, you ought to know, bud." 

He saw a superb pair of legs for all purposes military, 
and very proper arms, one of which he pinched as the 
boys shuffled warily into the examining chamber. Army 
regulations require a complete survey at this point of a 
recruit's progress, a prelude to the more thorough inspec- 
tion at the recruiting depot, and Cobb was used to mani- 
fold revelations on this removal of civilian dress — a 
failure of shoulders to support a padded promise, legs 
that arch wildly, tragedies of design. The phrase 
" magnificent specimen of manhood " had no meaning 
for him. He watched the three lesser prizes, hop- 
ping solemnly, naked, on one foot about the oilcloth, 
in series; and leaned on the door, waiting for the last 
exhibit. The large lad sat nursing a knee under 
his discarded peg-hung breeches, awkward and still 
flushed. 

" Now you," said Cobb, " let's see if you've got busted 
arches." 

The condition of the left arch was never demonstrated 
to the recruiting sergeant. Just at the completion of the 
first circle the door panels heaved against his back, the 
door opened far enough to admit a section of black skirt 
before he jammed it shut again. 



6 WAR STORIES 

" Otto," yelped Mrs. Obermuller, " you come right on 
straight home from there ! You hear me ? " 

" Lady," squealed the clerk outside, " you can't go in 
there ! Them boys ain't got nothin' on. They " 

"A lod I should care ! Otto ! " Her weight terrified 
Sergeant Cobb. A panel cracked, he thought; arid the 
respectability of the United States Army Recruiting 
Service was maintained solely by his muscles. 

" You clear out, Mrs. Obermuller," he panted. 

"You gif me Otto that's in there ant I clear oud! 
Otto, I seen you sneakin' off ! You come out or I'll " 

The panels complained. The boys had scattered, 
frantic, on the search for essential garments; but Otto 
stood, one foot suspended, miserable and red. 

" Kid," gasped Sergeant Cobb, " it ain't no good ! Oh, 
I'll send him right away, lady. Only " 

The matron resisted. Otto dropped his foot and 
cleared his throat, emitting a wabbling voice : 

" Mamma, you go home. I'll " 

"And I stay here while you come out ! " 

" Kid," said Cobb, " get your duds on an' get her away. 
I can't have things like this-all goin' on." 

There was a hiatus in the affairs of the Zerbetta station 
until Otto sniffling faintly was bundled through the 
portals of rejection and Cobb wiped his forehead. He 
jumped at the violence of a single slap, applied directly. 
He looked for marks of this when, in mid-afternoon, he 
came upon Otto squatted on the granite base of the still 
fountain which marked the square's center. " Bud," he 
said bluntly, " those pals of yours say you ain't havin' 
an awful good time at home." 

Otto took his eyes from the sentry pacing before the 
court-house. 

" I ain't German," he muttered. " Papa, he wasn't 
neither. She took me out of high school, an' I was on 
the football team. An' she ain't poor. It's the best 
grocery in town " 

" I guess she ain't very patriotic. Well," Cobb con- 
tinued, clumsy from kindness, " those kids are startin' 
down to Columbus on the four o'clock." 



tt 



(( 

it 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 7 

Otto's short nose worked. Two tears rippled down 
his creamy cheeks, converged on his chin and dropped as 
one to the sunny dust. 

"Aunt Elsie's let her kids go, an' one of 'em's only 
seventeen," he mourned. " If papa hadn't of gone off 
an' died! An' I can't even go to the movies 'less some 
one take me. 'Cause they got fiUums about Bel- 

" Yes, that red-haired kid was tellin' me.' 

Recruiting sergeants are permitted to wear trousers. 
An act of great delicacy was born in Cobb's soul by this 
unhappiness. There existed a hole in his right pocket. 
He shifted two silver dollars, which presently slid chilly 
down his calf. 

" If I'd got a mother like that," he stated, " I'd go 
a-w-o-1 pretty dawn quick ! " 
What's a-w-o-1?" 

'Absent without leave from post of duty," said the 
sergeant, moving away. 

" Here, mister, you dropped some " 

" No, kid," Cobb grunted, " I ain't got nothin' to drop." 

Even the solace of twenty films in prospect did not 
console Otto ObermuUer. He sat jingling these coins 
and staring wretchedly at the pompous sentry. The 
court-house clock, its gilt hands glittering, said quarter of 
four. At four Bob and Jim and Nelson would leave for 
Columbus. Friendship demanded that he see the last of 
them. He got up sullenly and started down South Street, 
much bedecked with cheap small flags. The dollars 
jingled in his pocket. Through the recruiting-office win- 
dow Sergeant Cobb watthed him slouch along. 

" If I was that kid," he reflected, " I'd hop the train to 
Columbus. They wouldn't know him from Adam's 
aunt down there." 

Immediately Otto stopped. Then his bent neck stiffened. 
He began to run. His shoes twinkled on the pavement. 
He vanished and left the sergeant somewhat dazed. 

II 

San Antonio has a wicked charm which wakes at dusk. 
The old city sheds its daytime ugliness like a dirty dress 



8 WAR STORIES 

at the first star above the Alamo. The tin arcades catch 
down the light of gaudy shop fronts into a jeweled gleam- 
ing along the narrow streets suddenly fluid with restless, 
roaming folk. Little rivers wander crookedly under the 
main promenades, and some Spanish spirit has fastened 
colored lamps in the trees of their gullies, something 
Latin survives, besides the Mexican chatter heard now 
and then ; music mellows the roar, and the legendary vice 
of the frontier has a gay frankness in the jostle. 

July, 191 7, saw many regiments belting the town, and 
night poured a khaki flood into the heart of this allure- 
ment. The flood boils most furiously on the stretch of 
East Houston Street, and male bubbles stray from the 
rush to linger and admire the mixed life that compen- 
sates briefly their dusty cantonment or the barracks on 
Fort Sam Houston hill, with young excited eyes. A 
medical major passing in a continuous flicker of salutes 
drew aside into the safety of a hotel entrance, his arm 
weary, promptly meeting a lieutenant who as promptly 
saluted. 

" Oh, Lord, Brown," said the senior, " Fve been 
flapping my hand all over the town ! We ought to wear 
blinders. It's ghastly ! " 

" It is," the lieutenant agreed ; a tall, thick fellow, wilted 
about the collar. He regarded East Houston Street 
keenly, a trifle absently. " I've been running round in 
circles. There must be ten thousand — twenty thousand 
enlisted men in town." 

" Yes, I've saluted about that many times. Come on 
and sit down." 

" Sorry, Major, I'm sleuthing." 

"When did they transfer you to the Military Police? 
Sleuthing? Any one could see you a mile off." 

Lieutenant Brown chuckled. 

" Well, I'm trailing my orderly. I gave him ten dollars 
this morning, out of the goodness of my heart ; and now 
I'm scared. I'm watching him spend it. He's been to 
three movies and he's had twelve ice-cream sodas. 
'Tisn't safe. He'll probably die. He's over in that soda 
joint now. I can see him from here." 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 9 

" What on earth did you give him ten dollars for ? 
That's wild extravagance. You bachelors ! " 

" I don't know why I did. He's so awfully military, 
though. He never calls me * you,' and he's nothing but 
a rookie. April vintage. He's such an ass," said Brown, 
trying to defend his conduct, " that it tickles me. He 
thinks he's a brigadier general. There he is ! And he's 
got a box of candy ! I ought to stop him." 

He beamed. Actually he was delighted with his 
favorite's harmless diversions, and the swagger of Private 
John Smith crossing East Houston Street was a marvel- 
ous thing. He walked with a hand on either starched 
hip, and the light made his flawless leggings gleam like a 
mahogany table newly polished. His chin strap, nicely 
blackened, made an oval in his tan, and his hat had the 
exact ripple of the brim that spells perfection to the 
enlisted dandy. 

" Fine," said the major generously. " He's been us- 
ing lime to get his clothes that white. Vanity, all is 
vanity." 

" He's a good sort of kid," remonstrated Lieutenant 
Brown, mildly offended. 

Private John Smith took position by a support of the 
iron arcade and lounged on it, dropping caramel papers 
at intervals, becoming rigid when an officer appeared and 
saluting with a sweep that threatened his hat's safety. 
Meanwhile, through his haughty mask of satiety, there 
glowed a rapture. His eyes roamed; he devoured the 
parade. 

" Small-town kid," the major guessed. 

" No; Columbus, Ohio, on his service record." 

" He looks," the surgeon commented, " truly rural. 
How young they are ! How young ! " 

" Of course they are," Brown said. "And the younger 
they are the better they do. They get into the traces. 
Now, you can turn any old thing into infantry, really; 
but artillery's different. You have " 

" It's queer," the major interrupted. " Colonel Coy 
was just telling me at dinner how perfectly impossible it 
is to shape up infantry unless you catch 'em young. He 



lo WAR STORIES 

says anything with two legs can be made into artillery; 
but " 

Lieutenant Brown sniffed his derision. He was light- 
ing a cigar when a howl, feminine but blood-curdling, 
sheared the woven noise of East Houston Street, and 
Private Smith wobbled from the arcade post, spilling 
caramels. His feet slung aimlessly as if thrashing water. 
His mouth became the slit of a tragic mask. He leaped 
up the sidewalk in wild ungainly steps and whirled about 
a corner. A flight of small boys swooped on the caramels, 
and through their activity galloped a large unattractive 
lady, her bonnet covered with blue cornflowers tilting 
over an eye ; and as she galloped she howled. 

The crowd took up this pastime with deep zeal. A 
dozen worldly women gathered their gay skirts and 
trotted. A wedge of soldiers outdistanced the pursuer 
yelling blissfully. A colonel, a fireman, a civilian con- 
stable and six quartermaster second lieutenants flocked 
after. Brown wriggled and ran among this press, but 
the business ended in the darker cross block with a con- 
fusion of silly questions, an episode of San Antonio's 
night ; and the puzzled officer drifted oif to the park edge 
where his car waited and drove up to Fort Sam Houston 
just as the bugles chanted their final order of the soldier's 
long day. 

Next morning he learned the aspect of the distracted 
glance, Private John Smith furnishing the source of 
knowledge. Outwardly the big obedient creature was un- 
changed, except for this symptom, but his eyes rolled 
left and right, and he rode behind Brown with constant 
turnings through the desolation then called Camp Wil- 
son, a tormented slope of porous soil sprinkled with un- 
floored shacks. The regiment, sweating nobly, showed 
its ability to cover five miles without sunstroke, and the 
adjutant was pleased. 

" But what's the matter with your dog robber. Brown ? " 

" I don't know, sir." Brown beat the buff powder 
from his shirt front and looked after Private John Smith, 
who was leading the soiled mounts away from the mess 
veranda. Fort Sam Houston parade ground offers a 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE ii 

fine perspective. The drooping horses and the uneasy 
figure waned toward a wide hollow lined with stables and 
gun sheds. In the cruelty of noon his dejection hurt 
Brown. 

"He looks all in," said the adjutant; "I expect this 
heat's pretty hard on these Northerners. Oh, by the 
way ! " He raised his voice, briskly assuming control 
of the regimental group. " There's a circular from de- 
partment headquarters, and Colonel Seeley had me on the 
'phone this morning. There's a boy in some artillery 
outfit, enlisted under age. His mother's come down 
hunting him. The colonel says she's a holy terror. Got 
the general out of bed some ungodly hour. Colonel 
Seeley wants action. She's making a nuisance of her- 
self. I've got a description of him. Please come to the 
office after mess and look it over. He's using a fake 
name, of course." 

The battery commanders nodded wearily. 

" I don't see why they can't be a little more careful at 
the recruiting stations," a captain complained. The med- 
ical major lifted an ironic eye to Brown above a frayed 
English weekly, as the lieutenant strolled near him. 

" Good-bye, orderly," he whispered. 

" Oh, hell ! " said the lieutenant, " I suppose so, the 
poor pup ! And I was going to make a corporal out of 
him!" 

His bitterness swelled when Private Smith came to 
clean boots after lunch, and his innocuous glory freshened 
the dull room. 

" Will the lieutenant want the polo pony this evenin' ? " 
No, I won't." Brown shook his head. 
Very good, sir." 

Private Smith collected the boots and a handful of 
spurs, his hat, with the red cord still unfaded, dangling 
on a thumb, and tiptoed to the door. 

" Smith ! " cried the officer. 

"Sir?" 

" Oh — ^nothing." Then his sympathy washed away a 
mountain chain of army regulations. "If I go talk it 
over with your mother " 



« 



12 WAR STORIES 

The spurs jangled on the floor. 

" It won't do no good, sir. She — she's German." 

" How old are you? " Brown growled. 

" Seventeen next September. Oh, I dunno why I ever 
sent Lottie my picture! That's it; that done it! I 
s'pose she went pokin' round in drawers an' things. I 
dunno why I did that ! It hadn't any name signed to it. 
Lottie's my sister, sir.'' 

Evidently in his vainglory Private Smith had sent a 
postal photograph to gladden Lottie, and with crossed 
cannon on his collar and a San Antonio postmark there 
would be sufficient clews. Meanwhile no military code 
yet published directs a lieutenant how to deal with an 
enlisted man who sits on his bedroom floor, weeping. 

" I'm awfully sorry for you. Smith," he said. 

Otto ObermuUer took up the refrain of his woe, and 
Lieutenant Brown listened, finally advised. 

" The war won't be over fpr a long time. Smith. You 
can enlist again when you're eighteen." 

" I'll have to go home, an' everybody's gone. Couldn't 
the lieutenant " 

" I can't lie you out of this ! " Brown snapped. " Look 
here, clean those things up and — and stay here," 

" Very good, sir." 

Even in his extremity the soldier was correct. 

Brown walked through the horse-reeking hollow past 
the stables and up into the Old Post of the fort, a 
gracious half-moon of ancient trees and green stone 
houses. He was stewing with mutiny and the sun 
chewed his neck. Seven years' immersion in this world 
told on his conscience. Why should a mother, beyond 
beggary, drag her son out of the one road? He fretted, 
glaring at the somnolent dignity of department head- 
quarters. The sentry at the Carson Street gate came to 
present arms with a click, and the pride of service stood 
embodied for the officer. He turned up the line of shops 
and boarding-houses at the infantry stride, whistling be- 
tween his teeth, and came to the army bank. 

The subsequent report of an inspector into the matter 
of the desertion of Pvt. John Smith, actually Otto Ober- 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 13 

muller, from Battery B, 495th F. A., established the fol- 
lowing facts : 

That Private Smith was observed leaving the quarters 
of 1st Lieut. Madison Brown, F. A., commanding B 
Battery, 495th F. A., between the hours of 4 and 5 p. m., 
carrying a suitcase, the property of ist Lieut. Brown; 

That Private Smith was then acting as orderly to 
Lieut. Brown, and that on being questioned by ist 
Serg. Michael Fitzhugh, B Battery, 495th F. A., Private 
Smith stated that the suitcase contained garments of ist 
Lieut. Brown which he was taking to be pressed ; 

That Private Smith was last seen by Corp. Henry 
Latour, B Battery, 496th F. A., boarding an Alamo Plaza 
street car about 6 p. m. ; 

That Private Smith was reported absent without leave 
the following morning ; 

That 1st Lieut. Brown admitted ordering Private 
Smith to take certain garments; namely, a civilian suit 
of blue serge and a raincoat, to a tailor to be cleaned 
and pressed ; that these garments had never been de- 
livered; that Private Smith when last seen by Lieut. 
Brown was in a depressed state of mind and unattentive 
to his proper duties; that Private Smith had no govern- 
ment property in his possession beyond his own wearing 
apparel, and no funds within the knowledge of the enlisted 
men acquainted with him. 

This report, duly rendered and backed in blue paper, 
was forwarded in duplicate to Mrs. Christina Obermuller, 
Zerbetta, Ohio. The original reposes at department head- 
quarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. 

in 

The major had lately seen so much salt water that an- 
other stretch, however famous, simply irritated him by 
the prophecy of more seasickness. The channel, beyond 
this English roadstead, looked sulky under the charming 
sky ; and the sands, barely speckled with bathers, did not 
attract him. He idled an hour of the delay at luncheon 
in one of the brick hotels that lined the ocean drive, 
watching a convalescent subaltern repel waitresses who 



14 WAR STORIES 

hovered about him with unasked chutney and extra soda 
bottles. He read a lengthy letter published in the local 
paper on the Irish conscription question and found it 
amazingly dull, even to an accompaniment of brandy and 
water. The subaltern concluded his boredom by ap- 
proaching him. 

" I dare say, sir, we're waitin' for the same thing. 
Seems we'll be here until five o'clock. Stupid, isn't it ? " 

" It's not wildly exciting," said the major. 

" Oh, rather not ! But I hear some nice old ladies are 
doin' a garden party for the Red Cross, and two of your 
destroyers are playin' baseball, lendin' their services, and 
so on. We might barge along and give it the look 



over " 



" Once over," the major amended, seizing his cap. 

"Ah, yes, quite so. Once over." 

They meandered in the background of the little town, 
discoursing amiably of hospitals and the idiocies of the 
amateur nurse, coming at last to an ivy-coped gateway 
in a wall posted with advertisements of this fete, and a 
loud professional voice wailed " Strike — one." After a 
doubtful silence there was applause. The major chuckled, 
following the subaltern up a path between booths and 
the necessary smiling ladies of a Red Cross fair. 

The game was in progress and a deep fringe of polite 
Britons stood observing it with earnest gravity. The 
Boy Scouts and the crews of the contesting destroyers 
supplied such noise as was current on this circle of glossy 
bush and summer gowning. But the teams were heated 
to a happy disregard of audiences. For the enlighten- 
ment of spectators, an ensign told the major, one team 
was wearing white, and the accumulated grass stains were 
astounding. 

" The grass," said the subaltern, " is rather long for a 
decent pitch." 

" I beg your pardon ? " 

" Dare say I'm wrong. Cricket, y'know. Er — what's 
the lad with the basket on his head about ? " 

" That," the major said, " is the umpire." 

The 'pitcher of the white team contorted his trunk. 



ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE 15 

causing a sedate ripple among the watchers, who would, 
the major thought, believe this healthy youth in great 
pain. Directly the familiar crack started a yell. A blue 
player slid home and picked himself up, scarlet, his over- 
shirt mightily torn. 

" Oh, Eddie ! " said the bench, in falsetto horror. 

" Eddie " sidled into a laburnum thicket with a friend 
or two, and an unabashed native of New York City wan- 
dered engagingly forth after a brief seclusion, hunting 
pins. The major lit a cigarette. 

" I think," he said, " I'll have a look at Eddie." 

" I don't think he seemed hurt, sir." The subaltern 
was surprised into the protest. 

" No, but — one minute." 

The committee on repairs had finished its labor and 
Eddie was polishing his chin with a borrowed handker- 
chief! As the major put aside a bough he spoke sorrow- 
fully: 

"An' it comes out of my pay, too ! " 

" Well," said a friend, " it ain't so much." 

" But I'm tryin' to save money. I owe a fellow fifty 
dollars 'Ten-shun ! " 

" Rest ! " the major ordered. 

The other sailors melted back from this interview, 
puzzled. 

" Well," said the officer, " and what's your name ? " 

" Eddie Johnson, sir." 

" You seem to stick to good ordinary sensible names," 
the major grinned. 

"Sir?" 

" Don't be silly ! I'm not going to cable Zerbetta, 
Ohio." 

"No," said the deserter; "the major's a friend of 
Lieutenant Brown's, ain't he? I used to see you with 
him last summer. An' — where is the lieutenant ? " 

" Captain Brown — I might see him in a day or so. 
Any message?" 

" If the major'd tell him, I've got thirty dollars saved 
up — and where could I send it ? I — I've got to pay him 
back." 



i6 WAR STORIES 

" Of course," said the major, " I don't know anything 
about your debts, Eddie Johnson." 

" No, sir — that's so. Well — just tell him the Navy's 
all right, but — I wish I hadn't sent Lottie that post-card ! " 

The subaltern was rather disturbed by the major's 
chuckles, and the game did not appear to interest the 
American as much as a national sport should. 

" One constantly hears," he alleged, " that the Anglo- 
Saxon's dyin' out in the States. Now that lad you went 
to look after. He's as English as Westminster Abbey, 
y'know." 

" Yes, his name's Eddie Johnson," said the major. 
" Suppose we start back. It's four." 

However, he lingered. Eddie Johnson was coming to 
bat and his swagger was superb as ever. He glanced 
about the alien field with a condescending calm, a hand 
on either hip. His scarf concealed the row of pins^ and 
his shoes, just rubbed in the laburnum shade, gleamed on 
the turf. His white cap was canted down to one haughty 
eyebrow and the tattoo shone like a jewel on the new tan 
of his chest. 

" Born in the Navy, I fancy," observed the subaltern. 

" Oh, yes," the major chuckled ; " he's been in the 
service quite a while." 



*Out of the Sky 

By Alden Brooks 

The porter hurried with the valise through the crowds 
of soldiers and civilians that thronged the station ; and a 
few paces behind followed Lieutenant Daveran, pale, 
erect, faded uniform well brushed and pressed, the 
ribbons of the Military Cross and the Legion of Honor 
upon his breast. As the two of them reached the long 
line of coaches that comprised the Marseilles express, the 
lieutenant came to a standstill and cried out after the 
porter : 

" No, no, my friend ! No need to go hunting a devil 
of a distance down there. Here you are! Any first- 
class compartment will do." 

The porter returned along the platform and glanced 
into the compartment indicated. 

No corner seat vacant in there," he muttered. 
In with it ! " exclaimed the lieutenant, with a jerk of 
his cane. " Have you forgotten that we're at war and 
that last comers must not be choosers ? " 

While the porter mounted into the train with the valise, 
the lieutenant waited there, apparently oblivious of the 
arrested stares of several passers-by. But, of a sudden, 
a tall, white-haired colonel approached and laid a hand on 
his arm. The lieutenant turned, then brought his^hand 
smartly to the salute as he smiled a quick recognition. 

" Well, well ! " said the colonel. " I see it's no longer 
Sergeant Daveran but Lieutenant Daveran. This is the 
first I've heard of further promotions. All my con- 
gratulations ! " 

" Thank you, Colonel ; thank you ! " 

* By permission of The Cosmopolitan and Alden Brooks. Copy- 
>^ght, 19 1 8, by The International Magazine Company. 

17 






i8 WAR STORIES 

"On leave?" 

" Leave of convalescence." 

"Wounded?" 

" No, no ; just a stupid attack of pleurisy, thanks to the 
abominable weather we've been having at the front." 

"Ah, yes — dreadful ! And yet we old-timers, closeted 
in our bureaus, how we envy you young men your 
youth ! " 

"We know that. Colonel; and so one more reason 
why we have no complaint to make." 

The colonel smiled. 

" In any case, Madame Daveran will be thankful for 
this further opportunity of seeing her husband. Kindly 
remember me to her." 

The porter descended from the train and accepted 
the lieutenant's tip. The colonel extended his hand in 
good-bye. 

" You mustn't miss your train, and I mustn't miss mine. 
A pleasant convalescence ! Do you plan to return to the 
front once more ? " 

" Most certainly." 

"And your seat in the Chamber of Deputies? " 

" Will continue to remain empty until the end of the 



war." 
« 



Even should the country need your eloquence ? " 

The lieutenant lifted his hands beseechingly. 

" My eloquence, indeed ! And France needs men, all 
her men, great and small ! " 

" Yet, if all the other deputies had done as you have, 
abandoned their seats in the Chamber and volunteered as 
common soldiers, who would there have been left to 
govern us ? " 

For a second, Lieutenant Daveran searched the eyes 
of the old officer; then he turned his head away and, 
glancing dreamily down the platform, said, in a deep, 
vibrating voice : 

" In these terrible days, each man must follow his own 
ideal. For me, there was something ignoble in rousing 
men's passions by my speeches and then letting them go 
forth alone to sacrifice their heart's blood." 



OUT OF THE SKY 19 

The station-master blew his whistle for the second 
time. Lieutenant Daveran shook the colonel's hand, 
saluted, and turned and pulled himself up into the com- 
partment. A minute later, the train began to roll slowly 
out of the station. 

For a time, Daveran sat back on his seat in the crowded 
compartment and became preoccupied with his news- 
papers. There was much of interest to read; and once 
he frankly took out his note-book and, with a quiet smile, 
scribbled down a memorandum of the old peasant woman, 
mortally wounded by a bomb, who gave fo the priest a 
last prayer of "Vive la France! " Of course, it was just 
a newspaper yarn, but it read well. 

As the train sped further and further away from Paris, 
the benches little by little became vacant ; finally, he was 
able to move over into a comer seat. A few stations 
more, and he had the compartment all to himself. Then 
he put his feet up on the seat opposite and, sitting there 
by the window, just glanced out at the flowing stream of 
hillsides and highroads and villages, and thought not a 
little of the lovely woman he had not seen for so long 
and to whom he was now returning so fast. 

The train was slowing down once more, and familiar 
landmarks were flashing before him. He jumped to his 
feet. H^ had nearly overslept himself. Had he actually 
done so, what a ridiculous proceeding for a man of his 
position! He reached up hurriedly for his valise in the 
rack and let its weight tumble down upon him to the floor. 
The effort made him perspire a little. He realized he 
was still as feeble as a child. 

Many people were upon the station platform, and, as 
Lieutenant Daveran descended from his compartment, a 
general buzz of conversation went up. A small girl was 
the first to greet him. He bent over her and, lifting her 
off the ground, kissed her on each cheek. Then the small 
girl turned and, tossing back both her braids, made way 
for her mother. And while Madame Daveran gracefully 
offered her face to her husband, the sun came out brightly 
between a break in the clouds, and, except for a few here 
and there in black, every one seemed to be smiling. With 



20 WAR STORIES 

that, leaning heavily on his cane, yet bowing and saluting 
repeatedly. Lieutenant Daveran moved slowly toward the 
exit. Outside were many people more. They promptly 
flocked around the large auto waiting there, into the front 
seat of which the small girl had already climbed beside 
the chauffeur. 

At last. Lieutenant and Madame Daveran settled them- 
selves in the back seat, and the chauffeur tried to drive off 
slowly through the crowd. But the crowd only became 
denser; and there was the local prefect still talking and 
laughing, one hand on the door of the auto. So Lieu- 
tenant Daveran touched the chauffeur on the back and, 
rising to his feet, faced the prolonged outburst of ap- 
plause with a patient smile. Of a sudden there was a 
deep silence — only the distant echoes of the Paris train 
rushing on through other countrysides. 

" Fellow citizens, thank you for this welcome, thank 
you in the name of all those others back there in the 
trenches ; for I know that in welcoming me, you are only 
welcoming them ! " (Loud cries of : " No ! No ! Vive 
Daveran! " " Hurrah for the soldier deputy! ") "And 
let me assure you of one thing : As they come back to you, 
some wounded, some sick, some worn out, all of them 
greedy for the smell of these sweet fields here, nothing 
warms their hearts more or gives them greater courage 
than the knowledge that you Frenchmen and you French- 
women here, of civil life, are ready to make the same 
sacrifices as they. Yes! To-day, at last we are all 
united in this supreme crisis of our race. Shall repub- 
lican government stand or fall? Shall the people rule 
themselves or shall they be ruled by despots? That is 
the solemn question before us. And the patriotism lurk- 
ing in each of our bosoms has risen like a mighty tidal 
wave and swept all before it. That the boche and his 
Kultur may perish, that our homes may be swept free of 
his murder and his pillage and his rape; above all, that 
the pure and ennobling institutions of democracy may 
flourish over all the earth and in all parliaments, we will 
each of us sacrifice everything we own — our money, our 
lives '* 



OUT OF THE SKY 21 

" One minute ! " bawled a loud voice in the rear. " Is 
it good and certain that it's your own money and your 
own life you're going to sacrifice like that?" 

An angry murmur of protest went up as every one 
turned about for a glimpse of the offender. It proved to 
be a surly-looking soldier, half sitting on a fence back 
there, arms folded. Lieutenant Daveran fixed the fellow 
intently and, shaking his forefinger at him, answered de- 
liberately, in a clear, firm voice: 

" Yes, my friend — my life. And yours, also, if need 
be — both of them on the same day, or the same night, 
without one tithe of difference between." A burst of ap- 
plause followed, but the speaker waved it down with 
one hand and continued: "And, incidentally, I've just 
come from the front and I'm about to return shortly. I 

trust it's the same with you " Rude hands, how-* 

ever, now shoved the man out of sight. " So I repeat 
what I say — sacrifices — the same sacrifices for one and 
all — yes; the same sacrifices for one and all. Already 
the times are hard, I know ; but I warn you they will be 
harder still before the end arrives. The future is going 
to ask. even more of our patience and abnegation and 
courage than do these trying days. So then — what of 
our answer? Are we to surrender ignominiously to cir- 
cumstances ? Or are we to go on to the bitter end, to that 
last quarter of an hour wherein victory is born? Can 
there be a second's doubt ? " 

" No ! " shouted several voices. 

" Very well. Then, happy in the certainty that, though 
the bestial enemy be strong, we are stronger still, let us go 
forward shoulder to shoulder, pilgrims all of this ancient 
religion whose one holy prayer is, 'Vive la France!'" 

A brisk spasm of hand-clapping broke out as the 
speaker sat down. But now the chauffeur, with a deep 
toot of his horn, scattered those ahead to one side, and 
suddenly the auto was off down the road at a merry 
pace. 

No sooner had Daveran arrived home than he was 
forced to receive a deputation of farmers, anxious for a 
definite promise that the district would receive potato- 



22 WAR STORIES 

plant in time for the approaching season. In a carefully 
worded speech he tried to allay their anxieties, but they 
were not easily satisfied, and they surrounded him with 
all their fears and bickerings until nearly dinner-time. 
Next day, other interviews had to be given, and so, too, 
during the succeeding days, an apparently endless file of 
electors, demanding this and that, until it seemed as if 
his whole convalescence must be« spent in attending to 
the needs of his constituents. But, finally, Madame 
Daveran intervened. Her husband had come home to 
rest, and rest now he should. Doors were shut upon the 
outside world, visitors turned away, and sun-baths advo- 
cated instead. 

An eccentric little man from Paris managed, however, 
to pass through the barriers; in truth, he represented a 
'too-well-known publishing house to be kept out. But 
Daveran was very surprised at the man's request. Sec- 
onds passed before he could look up from the floor and 
say, with an embarrassed little smile: 

" Can your house really be in earnest ? " 

" But most certainly so ! " 

" Well — of course — well, I can scarcely refuse so 
flattering an offer, and yet I don't know that I can find 
time to give to it just at present " 

"'Time?'" 

" Yes ; for if my speeches are to be published, they must 
first be revised." 

" But why ? Isn't the flaming word a thousand times 
preferable to " 

" Yes, yes ; I know," Daveran muttered. " But there 
are always changes that must be made — adjectives to be 
eliminated " 

The little man flopped up his hands with an impatient 
gesture. 

" Eliminate adjectives ! But, my dear sir, adjectives are 
the very vertebrae of oratory. What is a speech stripped 
of its adjectives? Nothing — nothing at all! Often just 
the naked, indecent fact. Don't think of such a thing, I 
beg of you ! Just let us have your speeches as they are 
and trust our judgment and, for your part, if I may say 



OUT OF THE SKY 23 

so, sit back here through your convalescence in undis- 
turbed tranquillity." 

Lieutenant Daveran smiled once more. 
. " Very well," he said, in a low voice ; " and I don't 
doubt you are right." 

When Madame Daveran received an official account of 
the interview, she was very pleased. 

" It'll be so gratifying having all your speeches reunited 
thus in book- form." 

"And what is more important," he said, as he sat back 
in his chair and placed his finger-tips together, " I shall 
be hammering home upon the public once more, be con- 
tinually hammering home, driving them along the right 
path." 

" I hope so." 

He reached up idly for her arm. 

" ' Hope so,' my darling ! Only * hope so ? ' Don't 
you know so ? " 

" Yes, of course — I meant that." 

" Then my darling should say what she means and not 
say what she doesn't ; for it's by well-chosen words alone 
that one rules and governs in this modern world" — he 
smiled up at her — " and you know I am ever and always 
your devoted slave." 

She ran her fingers lightly over his hair and said, with 
a chuckle: 

" Well then, come in to lunch." 

Slowly Daveran's health returned, despite one or 
two setbacks, whereon Madame Daveran became very 
adamant ; and toward the very end of his period of leave, 
he was able to launch forth on a whirlwind tour of his 
electorate, making six or more speeches a day. 

" I am very glad I was able to do it," he said, that last 
evening before his departure, as they sat there together, 
man and wife. " They needed to see me once more ; and 
I needed to see them. But, by the way, to change the 
subject abruptly and talk of other matters, I've been 
thinking things over recently and, well, I have a simple 
question to ask you." 

'* What on earth can it be? " 



24 WAR STORIES 

" Well, it's this : All things considered, don't you think 
it's about time for us to have another child? " 

With a short burst of ironic laughter, she rose and went 
across the room. 

"Ah— that ! No ! Never again ! " 

She fumbled around in the dark a moment before find- 
ing a box of matches. 

** Why * never again ? ' " he asked curtly, as she lit the 
lamp. 

" Because three's enough." 

" Really ? And yet there are women who've had more." 

" I dare say. But three is enough for me. At least 
for the present. Why, I've hardly got through nursing 
Marcella ! " 

There was a moment's silence; then he said, in his 
forceful voice : 

" If it's a question of running a hospital, or even driv- 
ing an ambulance along the front, or doing a hundred 
and one other tasks men have been accustomed to do, you 
are at once all eagerness; but if it's a question of ful- 
filling the simple duty nature fitted .you for *' 

" Oh — * nature ! ' Nature doesn't know half the time 
what she wants herself. And I contend that when a 
woman has brought three children into the world and has 
the care of them, she can disregard nature and any one 
else, particularly in war-time." 

" Yes ; how idiotic of me to have mentioned the sub- 
ject even ! " 

" Well, you can be mean about it if you like — though I 
don't really see any reason why you have a right to be. 
It isn't as if I hadn't been willing — and now — well, after 
all, women must be given a certain leeway in such 
matters " 

He waved her down with his hand. 

" Good, good, good ! Say nothing further. I put the 
question to you ; you answered it. That's all I wanted ; 
I ask no more." 

" Frankly, dear, I should think you wouldn't." 

He turned round abruptly and stared at her. 
Even though it would give me great pleasure to know 



« 



OUT OF THE SKY 25 

before I go off, perhaps to my death, that there is another 
child, possibly a son this time, growing up to take my 
place ? " 

She returned toward him, with affection in her eyes. 

" Oh, you're not going to die." 

He stared at her again, indignantly. 

" I'm not, eh ? How do you know I'm not ? " 

" Oh, because " . 

" Hm — the same ' because,' I suppose, that tells you 
to shirk your duty." 

" So it's now become my duty, is it ? " 

" It always has been your duty." He leveled his finger 
at her solemnly. " You are a Frenchwoman, and France 
needs children more than any other country in the world. 
Therefore, let the women do their share like the men. 
Let each woman bring into the world, not only three chil- 
dren but five, seven, nine, even as their ancestors did, so 
that, in due time, a vast new generation may come up 
strong and healthy over the hillsides into the full dawn 
of victory ! " 

A moment's silence followed. She looked at him, a 
qileer expression on her face. Finally she said, with a 
little chuckle: 

" Oh, I know why you're suddenly so keen about hav- 
ing another child. You've been led to talk about it 
recently in your speeches, advocated children by the gross 
for others. Monsieur himself must now live up to his 
fine words." He turned his back upon her with a gesture 
of disgust and went to the mantelpiece. " Yes, yes," she 
continued laughingly; "and I remember, just the other 
day, reading in the paper something you said. What was 
it? * If the women of France are in tears these days, it 
is only because they cannot bring forth children fast 
enough to replace the dead.' . Wasn't that it ? " He took 
a cigarette from its yellow package and tried to light it 
indifferently, but she only pointed her finger at him. 
" Oh, how you are blushing ! No, really ; I haven't seen 
you blush so in years." 

"And if I am," he suddenly growled, " I'm not ashamed 
of myself." 



26 WAR STORIES 

"Oh, of course not, dear; and I suppose somebody 
must say these things — only, well — I somehow wish you 
didn't have to say them all the time." 

" Really ? " he said, with a sneer. " Well, if I'm not 
ashamed of myself, I'm ashamed of you." 

" Oh, come now, Georges ! " 

" Yes; just to think that a boche wife would do better 
by me ! " The smile left her lips, and she grew a trifle 
pale. " To think," he continued, " that you, my wife, will 
let me go back to the front and suffer all the horrors of 
war, while you remain here and placidly refuse to do 
your share ! " 

" Oh, all the horrors of war indeed ! " she said, with a 
sudden flare of temper. " Let me see — how many bottles 
of champagne was it you wrote me you consumed in one 
day, all of you, in that chateau? Well, I've forgotten; 
but if you call that suffering all the horrors of war, I'm 
sure there are several I know of ready to exchange places 
with you. Not other staff-officers, of course, but just 
simple soldiers." 

He glared at her. 

** Now, just what do you mean by that?" 

For a moment she held her ground; then slowly the 
anger died out of her eyes. 

" I meant nothing, dear, nothing at all. Forgive me." 

He shoved aside her advances. 
No; I'm serious." 

Even so, I really don't see why we've got to spend 
this last evening together quarreling. And, after all, I'll 
do whatever you want me to do." 

" Then why do you insult me ? " 

" I never insulted you." 

" You did ! You implied, in so many words, that I was 
a slacker, a hypocrite, and a coward." 

" Why, Georges, I didn't ! All that's simply your own 
imagination. How could I ever think Such things of you, 
even if you hadn't distinguished yourself the way you 
have all through the war ? " 

"Anyway, why do you insult me ? " he went on, with- 
out listening to her. " Simply because I suggested that 






OUT OF THE SKY 27 

you should do your duty, as a loyal Frenchwoman 
should?" • • 

** How unfair you are ! Can't you see my point of view 
just a little? Can't you see that while for you another 
child is nothing, for me it is everything? It's all a big 
problem, particularly just now, with the war still on, food, 
milk, sugar becoming scarce, life in every way growing 
more and more complicated and uncertain. Can't you see 
that? " She paused, then gave a little sigh. " But I see 
you don't. Well, possibly you're right — ^you always are, 
you know — only, of course, it's easy to have these ideals 
for other people and much harder to carry them out. If 
you were the one to bring the children into the world, I 
wonder how many we'd have — five, seven, nine, eleven ? " 
She gave a little laugh. " But that's generally the way 
with theorists; they never have the personal experience, 
and they just try and drive others headlong, often over 
fatal obstacles. And that's why, though sometimes what 
they say is very good, at other times, well, they're just 
talking to hear themselves talk — well, I don't exactly 
mean that 



"Ah, no ! " he exclaimed. " That's enough." 
No, Georges; listen 



He broke away from her savagely and slamrtied the 
door behind him. He went out into the garden. 

It was a soft April night. For a few minutes he stalked 
about in the dark, then sat down abruptly in the ham- 
mock under the linden trees. He was furious with his 
wife. But he was also furious with every one and every- 
thing. As he leaned back in the hammock and listened 
to the insect world above, buzzing in the linden blossoms, 
angry resolutions teemed in his brain. He would show 
her^ by God ! He would show them all ! Yes ; he w^ould 
go even further still, even though it placed his life in ab- 
solute danger, even though, this time, it might mean death. 

A figure approached uncertainly in the darkness. He 
did not move. Presently her hand ran down the ham- 
mock and touched his shoulder. Madame Daveran sat 
down in the hammock and half leaned over him, 

" Forgive me," she whispered. 



28 WAR STORIES 

He offered no reply, just sat there, motionless. She 
took up his hand and, after stroking it a while, kissed it. 

"As soon as I get back," he said of a sudden, in a cold, 
decisive voice, " I shall apply to enter the Aviation 
Corps." 

For answer, she kissed his hand again. 

" Then, perhaps, I shall be spared the sneers of my 
wife at my courage and sincerity." Silence. " Yes, and 
join up with a fighting squadron." Another silence. 
" Do you believe me ? " 

" They won't take you," she muttered. 

He glanced down at her through the dark. 

"Why not?" 

" You're too old." 

" rU make them." 

" Yes ; no doubt you will," she answered, as if in a 
dream, " for you always end by making everybody do as 
they should — inspiring them, that is — and I'm absolutely 
unworthy of you. Kiss me ! " 

Afterward, in the middle of the night, in the solitude of 
his bed, he woke up suddenly all in a tremble, heart 
fluttering, a terrified cry upon his lips. He had just been 
up there in his dreams, way up there in the skies, and 
suddenly he had felt nothing between himself and death 
thousands of feet below, nothing but that frail, tossing 
plane of canvas. And even now, as he lay there fully 
awake, the impression of that awful suspense lingered in 
all his muscles. Then he wondered if he hadn't actually 
cried aloud. Apparently not. At least, his wife had not 
heard him. Then, for a long time, he just remained 
there inert, thinking. But next morning, once out of bed, 
he felt all right again. 

And Madame Daveran's last entreaties were of no 
avail. 

SOj a month later. Lieutenant Daveran became a mem- 
ber of the Aviation Corps; and the newspapers made 
mention of the fact in one of those cryptic notices : 

Lieutenant X., the well-known deputy from Y., has been 
transferred, at his own request, from General Z.'s staff to the 
Aviation Corps. 



OUT OF THE SKY 29 

But he had hardly been out two days on the aviation 
field before he realized he had made a terrible mistake. 
How could he ever have thought of such a thing? Why, 
even just here, on this training-ground, he must, day by 
day, expose himself heedlessly to sudden death ! A cold 
panic seized him. Even that terrible night under bom- 
bardment, when his apparent coolness had won him his 
decoration — even that night was as nothing compared to 
any one of these terrible new hours. And the worst was 
that it must go on — no turning back now, no escape. The 
die was cast. 

Now and then, to be sure, he motored home to his wife 
and, visiting his constituents in his new insignia, made a 
few speeches, and so tried to imagine circumstances were 
As they were before. But it was a poor substitute. His 
speeches lacked inspiration — that other thought was so 
settled there in his mind. And though, as the weeks went 
by, he began to acquire a little confidence in the roaring 
motor under him — it had such a will of its own, rushed 
him through the air so powerfully — yet the dreadful 
ague never left him. It was just as if he were ill with 
some disease — a disease that harassed him and made him 
almost a different man. Even that title, " the well-known 
deputy from Y,'' irritated him beyond measure. If he 
were so important as all that, why did every one leave 
him in such a position as this? It was not for him to 
suggest anything, of course; but, well, shall a willing 
horse be allowed to work himself to death ? Incidentally, 
his publishers did say something upon the subject; they 
said that it was a shame that a man of his talents should 
be allowed to waste himself in such a position. Let each 
man be given the task he can do best. But it was noth- 
ing more than a comment; it went no further — just the 
weeks slipping away; circumstances settling round him 
and holding him as if in a vise. He had wished to be- 
come an aviator; he was now an aviator, or shortly to 
become one. 

So the best future he could promise himself was a post 
at Toulon or Bordeaux, skimming over the waters and 
looking for submarines. It would be dangerous work; 



30 WAR STORIES 

but not so dangerous as the front — the less of two evils. 
Meanwhile, however, he kept up his old exterior. And 
one Sunday, when his wife said to him : " Dearest boy, 
you look more and more worried. What's the matter? 
Are you unhappy about anything ? " he merely replied 
with a scowl : " Unhappy ? Well, do you think I can be 
happy when the Germans are still at Noyon ? " And so, 
finally, that last day at the Aviation school when the call 
came for volunteers for the fighting squadrons, he hesi- 
tated a brief moment, glanced round at his companions, 
then lit a cigarette, and sauntered forth among the first. 

A second later, even as he was standing there, he cursed 
himself for a fool. Yet, paradoxically, a certain self- 
satisfaction warmed him. No matter what the future, no 
one now could ever say that he had not lived up to all his 
words. 

And the front was not as bad as all that; it was even 
better than the training-school. Once up there in the air, 
one was one's own master — no need to go looking for 
trouble unless one wanted to. So each time he went up, 
it was the same dodge — he simply never attempted to 
fulfil atiy of the missions assigned to him. As for his 
ever giving battle to a German opponent, should he meet 
one, the idea never so much as entered his mind. His 
sole anxiety was that, some day, some one, sooner or later, 
would find him out. Slowly this fear grew into a veri- 
table terror. It made him morose. As the days went 
by and his failures seemed to be adding up behind his 
back, he tried to escape from every one, be entirely by 
himself. The others, however, one by one sought him 
out. Strange to say, they evidently desired his friend- 
ship. They even treated him like something superior to 
themselves. Grotesque circumstance this; for, though 
none could talk with any fluency and some even had 
queer, crude ideas upon subjects of national importance, 
all were gifted with qualities he would never possess. So 
grotesque was it that, on the one or two occasions they 
pushed him up out of his chair as a jolly good fellow and 
tried to force a speech out of him, he nearly broke down 
for want of a suitable something to say, and, as a make- 



(f 
tt 



OUT OF THE SKY 31 

shift, had to set them laughing with jokes and anec- 
dotes. 

Then, at the very hour when he felt suspicion must at 
last have fixed itself upon him, like a gift fro^yi heaven, 
his release came. It was an army order recommending 
that all men over thirty be weeded out of the fighting 
squadrons. It was almost incredible news. For days, he 
was intoxicated with hidden joys. His old self-confi- 
dence returned in leaps and bounds as the vistas of that 
other life back there opened up again. No longer a con- 
tinual battle against death and frigid altitudes, but a re- 
turn^ to home and fireside and political honors. In the 
mess-room, one afternoon, several brother aviators con- 
gratulated him on his good fortune. He wanted to smile, 
but he did not smile; instead, he frowned slightly and 
asked * 

Why good luck ! " 

Because you're out of it for good." 

"And well out of it," added some one else. 

Daveran drew himself up and assumed an easy, well- 
balanced attitude. 

" Well, that is one way of looking at it. And, of 
course, I know what this flying-game is, and Fve never 
pretended to be one of its heroes — not by any means — as 
you all know. Still, boys, there's something wonderful in 
the atmosphere out there just the same, something you 
can't exchange for anything else in the whole world. 
And, personally, I can promise you one thing, and that is 
that I'm mighty sorry to have to leave it all now and go 
back there and sit down placidly among the stale common- 
places of 'civil life." 

At that moment, the commandant of the sector entered 
the room. Daveran turned to him and extended both his 
hands. 

" Commandant, I appeal to you. Can't you tell them 
that I'm not too old to stay out here ? " 

The commandant smiled and shrugged his shoulders. 

" You're no longer a young man, Daveran ; and it's 
young men we want." 

Daveran threw up his hands with a pathetic gesture. 






32 WAR STORIES 

"Then I'm just senile — is that it? — only fit for the 
workhouse and an old-age pension." 

"Not by any means. Well, why not speak to the 
general? • Perhaps he can do something for you?" 

" Do you really think so ? " 
It's all in his hands." 
Then Fll speak to him." 

If you like; though my advice to you is to go back 
now to your seat in the Chamber of Deputies, and, as an 
experienced aviator, make them give us the machines we 
want." 

"Ah, yes, Daveran ; go ahead and do that," drawled a 
comrade, as he sauntered forth, lacing up his suit. 
" Why, the sheds are full of a lot of old taxi-cabs, that, 
if I had my way, Fd pour a can of juice over and make 
a fire of." 

Every one laughed, including the commandant. 
Daveran waited a second, fingers slipped beneath the 
buttons of his jacket. 

" Well," he finally said, with dignity, " be sure, gentle- 
men, that if I should go back, Fll do my best for you, all 
my best — uniformity of type, rapidity of delivery, pre- 
cision and speed of motor. But, before dropping out of 
your ranks like this, I want to be sure of one thing — that 
Fm only good myself for the scrap-heap. Fll go and see 
the general." 

Next day Daveran obtained an audience with the army 
commander in question, just as the latter was about to 
leave his headquarters. It was a small, sunny room in 
the wing of a chateau, the classical display of maps every- 
where, the simple white tables, a typewriter clicking in 
the next room. And while the general stood there draw- 
ing on his gloves, Lieutenant Daveran spoke in a firm 
voice of his desire to remain on active service. 

" Fm sorry. Lieutenant," the general answered, " but an 
exception in your case means an exception for every one. 
And to speak brutally, it's the machines we must save. 
Experience shows that it's the young men who cost less. 
They lose less machines." 

Daveran was about to suggest again in that pathetic 



OUT OF THE SKY 33 

way that, such being the case, he was senile, then, and 
only fit for the scrap-heap, but he remembered just in 
time how potent was the appeal. And yet he felt he must 
say something. So he bowed his head and said, in a low, 
vibrating voice : 

" General, I regret my uselessness. But I wanted to 
let you know that all of us here under your command, 
all of us, young or old, ask no better than to go on with 
the fight to the bitter end, give all our blood to the last 
drop, that France may lift her head again and rise from 
her sufferings, victorious over herself and her vanquished 
enemies." 

" Thank you," murmured the general somewhat con- 
fusedly, " When a man commands such men as your- 
self, Lieutenant Daveran, he can be assured of ultimate 
victory." 

In the back of the room stood a tall colonel, arms 
folded. It was the chief of staff. The general turned 
and gave him a questioning glance.. 

" Can we make an exception in his case. Colonel ? " 

" Yes ; let him be attached to headquarters here. We 
can use him and other men in the same category for our 
own work. At present, weVe only Delattre and Rous- 
seau really at our disposal, and it's not enough." 

" Excellent idea ! " exclaimed the general. He turned 
to Daveran. " Does that suit you? " 

" Certainly, General. You're very kind." 

The general showed a trace of emotion. 

" That's right ! " he growled. " Be sure and thank me 
before I send you out and make you break your neck. 
But you willed it so. Now I must be off. Colonel, will 
you arrange the details ? " 

After the general had left the room, the colonel turned 
to one of the tables and sat down before a large map. 
He said nothing for a moment, just ran his finger over 
the map. Daveran stood by his side and watched the 
finger. In the midst of all the sudden commotion in his 
soul, there rose out slowly a violent dislike of this tall 
chief of staff. Not a real man this, but a soulless, parch- 
ment-faced mathematician. And he disliked him all the 



34 WAR STORIES 

more as he remembered now how the man passed among 
those who knew as something of a superman, a miUtary 
genius, in fact, one of the silent, relentless brains of the 
army. 

" There it is," said the colonel, lifting up his pencil 
horizontally on the map. " Le Breil. See for yourself. 
Now Tm having a shed put up there for Delattre and 
Rousseau, but there'll be plenty of room for your 
machine and others still." 

With that, he went on to explain succinctly Daveran's 
various duties. Daveran stood there at attention and 
bowed his understanding in each case. But his heart 
was beating wildly. Already it was taken for granted. 
He was not to have anything more to say. Instead of 
going back home to fame and parliamentary success and 
to wife and family, as he might so easily have done, he 
was going to jeopardize his life once more day after day, 
and this time under constant supervision. He could 
hardly believe his senses; it was too outrageous. All at 
once his thoughts leaped up in a frantic, panic-stricken 
determination to escape. How best could he appeal to 
this man's emotion? What terse phrases could he con- 
jure into a quick, subtle argument for his release? But 
almost in the same flutter of excitement, his hopes fell. 
Yes; before this man, so devoid of all literary. sense aiid 
fine sentiment, words would be of no avail. Facts alone 
would count with him. 

And now the crucial moment had already passed. The 
colonel had risen from his chair. He extended his hand. 

" Now go down at once to the P. C. M. A. and get a 
machine — and have no hesitation in making them give you 
a good one." 

Daveran saluted and left the room. Outside, however, 
after he had taken a few paces, he had to stop where he 
was and stand there, arms akimbo. Why, in heaven's 
name hadn't he kept his mouth shut for once — just 
once? 

At Le Breil a terrible gloom settled upon him. As 
Delattre and Rousseau warned him, there was work in 
plenty to be done, and often dangerous at that. But what 



OUT OF THE SKY 35 

was worse was the utter sense of isolation that settled 
over him. He became embittered. He felt that every 
one had forgotten him, that he was simply some one's 
slave, without a will of his own. And why ? What was 
the meaning of all this butchery? Of course, war was 
necessary, but it was awful how dependent man was 
upon man. Just one false step, perhaps just one mis- 
calculation, or some minor factor of the personal equa- 
tion, like a prejudice or an ill-thought-out theory, even 
one false word might send thousands and thousands of 
men to their death. And this last was a terrible thing, 
so terrible that only the experienced themselves — well, 
that was just the trouble in his own case; he had never 
had the experience, and he never would have. He had 
just waded out of his depth ; war was for taller men than 
himself. And yet it irritated him continually as he 
realized what absolute reliance he had on the colonel. 
And even as he knew that each of the tasks set him was 
well thought-out and essential, so w^s he jealous of this 
man who could do such perfect work so silently. It 
irritated him but it also made the gloom sink deeper into 
his heart, for he understood that just as he had become a 
weapon wielded by a clever hand, so would he, one day, 
have to ring true. 

Then, one early morning, while he was up there in the 
skies, he caught sight of an aeroplane swooping down out 
of the clouds full at him. He gave a terrified groan and, 
ducking low in his seat, shoved the " broomstick " vio- 
lently forward and dove away headlong, but toppled over 
too far and nearly fell out despite his straps, and so 
scudded upside down a long, horrible minute, clinging 
frantically to the roaring engine, only to find himself of 
a sudden looping up again into mid-air, and right there 
the goggle- faced monster sweeping past and shooting a 
stream of bullets at him. Then he grabbed the handle 
of his own machine gun and, squeezing the trigger wildly, 
again darted over, nose first, straight after the other, 
firing, firing, until the earth unfolded itself in trees and 
meadows, suddenly leaped up and caught his swerving 
plane — and the doctor said : 



36 WAR STORIES 

" Take away all those flowers ; the odor will only 
nauseate him." 

" Yes," answered one of the nurses ; " though I'll leave 
these tulips. They have no odor, and they were ordered 
by his wife." 

He glanced up at the nurse and muttered feebly. 

"How is she?" 

No one answered him. 

And, a little later, when he tried to say, " I*d like to 
speak to my wife," again no one answered him. People 
just went by there, at the foot of his bed. Now and then, 
one or two would glance his way and scowl sadly. 

He was lying in a sort of alcove with whitewashed 
walls. 

Presently it occurred to him that he was lying like this, 
in this hospital, on account of- the fall — in spite of that 
terrible plunge through the skies he was, somehow, still 
alive — yes; just at the last minute he had righted the 
machine a little. But not enough. So he was lying here 
in this bed, just badly knocked out, just half out of his 
head, unable to move a muscle anywhere, not even his 
lips. 

A troop of wounded soldiers, all freshly bandaged, 
limped past in the corridor at the foot of his bed. For 
some reason, the corridor ahead was blocked, and some 
had to stand there a minute. 

"An aviator," explained the white-coated orderly, 
" paralyzed from a fall. So, you see, none of you boys 
have anything on him." 

He tried to smile at them. He might be paralyzed for 
the moment, but he was not as bad as all that. And 
several of them were in acute pain, as he could see. The 
band moved on. 

Then the hospital must be near the front. Of course. 
They couldn't have carried him far in this condition. 
And the continual rumbling he heard was cannon-thunder. 

That evening, he managed to make the nurse under- 
stand he wished to talk. She leaned over and turned her 
ear close to his mouth. 

" Then my wife knows ? " he whispered. 



OUT OF THE SKY 37 

" Yes ; those flowers are from her." 

"What did you tell her?" 

"We told her you were wounded, but that your life 
was not in danger." 

"Yes; that was right. You see, she's going to have 
a child soon. And any shock " 

" I understand. When ? " 

" Soon, in a couple of months or so." 

" Well then, try and rest quietly now and get well." 

Shortly afterward, a doctor appeared. 

" How is he ? " 

" He seems much better. I've actually had a talk with 
him." 

" That's a good sign. And the X-ray shows nothing 
but a chipped vertebra. Complete rest and electric 
massage ought to set him up again." 

The doctor was not mistaken. 

In the following days, the electric massage unlocked 
one by one the cells in his body. He began to regain the 
use of all his muscles. Soon he was able to sit up in 
bed. Then several of his brother aviators paid him a 
visit. They showed him a photograph. It was of a man 
lying on a stretcher, clothes torn and rumpled and burned 
in patches. Above the closed eyes there was a big gash 
on the temple, and the legs were charred down to two 
stumps. A rope about the wrists kept the hands from 
falling off the stretcher. 

" Who is it ? " he asked. 

" The boche you brought down." 

Then, while he looked at the photograph again, all of 
them in turn tried to express their admiration of his cour- 
age and prowess. To loop the loop away from an ad- 
versary like that and come up on top of him was a feat 
worthy of the greatest. After they had gone, he lay 
back there, a queer joy running in his heart. No one 
would ever know now. And he could go back a hero — 
though a silent hero, ready only to do real work. 

A few days later, he was up and able to walk about 
the hospital and its grounds. A week more, and he would 
be able to travel back to Paris of his own accord. 



38 WAR STORIES 

" You'll have a limp for a few months," the doctor 
warned him, *' but it'll wear itself out with good care." 

The day before he was to leave, an orderly brought 
him a letter inviting him to a dinner of French and Eng- 
lish aviators. He held the letter in his hand for some 
time, then tossed it aside. No; he would not go. It 
would only mean his being called on for a speech, and — r 
well, he had nothing more to say — nothing. With that, 
he sat down at a table, there in the hospital writing-room, 
and wrote out his refusal while the orderly waited. It 
took some time, for he could not be sure that the letter 
might not be read aloud at the dinner. 

But no sooner had he handed the missive to the orderly 
and the orderly had left the room than he exploded with 
rage. More words, words, words in that letter — that 
was all. 

Of a sudden, he hobbled over to the window and threw 
it open. He caught the orderly as he was passing be- 
neath. 

" Give it back to me." 

The orderly handed up the letter. Taking it and crum- 
pling it up in his hand, Daveran growled : 

" Just tell 'em yourself I can't come." 



H: 



The Christmas Fight of X 157 



How She^Met U 309 and What Came of 

the Meeting 

By Dana Burnet 

He had gone over with the first American destroyer 
flotilla; had been shifted to the command of a converted 
yacht (this was in the glorious days of naval improvi- 
sation) and had come to grief at the hands of an itin- 
erant mine that blew his vessel into irreparable frag- 
ments. He had been picked up by a charitable trawler 
and delivered more dead than alive to a hospital estab- 
lished for the purpose. The hospital was also an im- 
provisation. It had been formerly the home of a duchess, 
and was now a shelter for those hurt souls whom kultur 
casts up from the sea. It stood upon the crest of a hill 
overlooking a clamorous harbor, and welcomed the vic- 
tims of Tirpitzian frightfulness. 

Lieutenant Bainbridge found it very trying at first, 
because he wanted to die and the nurses would not let 
him. There was one dark-eyed nurse in particular — 
she was evidently a foreigner — who insisted that he live, 
though he explained to her, very patiently, that a sailor 
who had lost his ship, and his left arm as well, was far 
better off underground than above it. To which the little 
nurse replied, in her careful English, that she had lost 
her country and was still undisheartened. 

" If one dies now. Monsieur," she said quietly, " one 
goes out before the end of the play. And that is not 
fair to the author." 

Later Bainbridge fell desperately in love with the 

* By permission of TAe Ladies* Home Journal and Dana Burnet 
Copyright, I9i7f by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

39 



40 WAR STORIES 

dark-eyed nurse; and that was very good for him, be- 
cause it gave him something to cling to. Under the 
spell of it he improved rapidly and in a short time was 
able to stroll about the great terrace overhanging the 
sea. Occasionally the litde nurse would accompany 
him, and they would talk of the lost country that lay just 
over the horizon. f 

One day Bainbridge said : " When I get out of this I 
am going to ask for another ship." 

She looked at him with a quick smile. " I knew that 
you were too brave to die ! " 

He laughed a little at that. " Of course," he said, 
" they won't take a one-armed man in the line ; but I may 
be able to pick up something in the auxiliary service. 
Fm not altogether helpless, you know." 

A fortnight afterward he went up to London to see 
the powers in charge of the American Naval Arrange- 
ments. Early in December he returned to the hospital, 
still rather gaunt and pale, but boyishly elated over his 
good fortune. 

" They've given me a boat of sorts," he told the dark- 
eyed nurse. " It's nothing but a discarded experiment 
with a gun on it ; but we cripples can't pick and choose. 
Fm thankful for small favors." 

They were standing at a window overlooking the har- 
bor. Twilight had fallen upon the tangled shipping be- 
low, and a huge shadow walked upon the sea. Some- 
where in the stillness of that ancient beneficent house 
arose sudden voices, singing a song as old as England: 

God rest you merry, gentlemen, 
Let nothing you dismay. 

" They are practicing the Christmas carols," said the 
little nurse. "We are going to have a very beautiful 
Christmas. I wish that you might be here to share it 
with us." 

" I shall think of you," said Bainbridge unsteadily. 

" And I of you. Monsieur." 

He took her hand and kissed it. A few moments later 
he went down the unlighted slope that led to the sea. 



THE CHRISTMAS FIGHT OF X 157 41 

The United States X 157, an eighty- foot gasoline ex- 
periment " with a gun on it," was having engine trouble 
somewhere off the Irish coast. She should have been 
probing the waters of a suspected inlet, with others of 
her breed, some fifty miles to the northward, but an 
acute attack of motor sickness had interfered materially 
with these holiday arrangements. She lay now in the 
trough of a black swell and tinkered her insides, to the 
unspeakable disgust of her commander — a tall, gaunt 
young man with an empty sleeve — who had hoped for 
better things. 

It was the day before Christmas, a fact which did not 
tend to mitigate X 157's misfortune, nor to improve the 
spirits of her master. Lieutenant Bainbridge, for all 
his hardening experience, was of an age peculiarly sen- 
sitive to imperfection. He paced gloomily up and down 
his negligible bit of quarter-deck and cursed the luck 
that had kept him out of the " Christmas show." Ex- 
cept for the unutterable luck, he would have had a speak- 
ing part in the performance, which was to result (one 
hoped) in the elimination of an uncommonly active enemy 
submarine. 

The submarine in question was officially registered as 
Unterseehoot U 309; but to the world at large, and espe- 
cially to the world that goes upon the face of the waters, 
she was known simply as the Devil Fish. Her com- 
mander, a blond pirate with a gift for slaughter, had 
endeared himself to humanity by the unusual thorough- 
ness of his kultur. Altogether he was a most successful 
Devil Fish, whom the authorities had striven in vain to 
abate. 

Recently, however, certain rumors had fallen out of 
the air: rumors concerning a concealed submarine base 
upon an uninhabited adjacent coast. Whereupon a se- 
lected pack of American and British small craft, in 
charge of a thirty-knot destroyer, had been dispatched 
to investigate, much in the manner of hounds sent forth 
to flush a fox. It was to this squadron that X 157 should 
have belonged. 

But X 157 lay wallowing in the lap of wintry seas and 



42 WAR STORIES 

generally cursed the luck. To add to the holiday atmos- 
phere of the scene, the wind spat up a gusty snow, out 
of the thick of which emerged suddenly a huge blunder- 
ing bird shape. 

" British seaplane off the port bow, sir," called a voice 
from X 157's frozen foredeck. " Says he wants to talk 
to us." 

" Of course he does," growled Bainbridge ; and he 
added under his breath : " They're a garrulous lot, these 
wing lieutenants." 

Meanwhile the seaplane had come to rest upon the 
heaving bosom of the waters, and was addressing X 157 
with admirable brevity. The gist of her discourse was 
that a neutral merchantman had been sunk some fifteen 
miles to the southeast. The plane added quite casually 
that it was the work of the Devil Fish. 

" Are you sure? " demanded X 157 with new eagerness. 

" Perfectly sure," answered the plane. " I saw his 
marks distinctly. He was shelling the remains when I 
arrived and dropped a few bombs on him. He dived 
then. The boats have all been harvested by our patrols, 
so there's nothing in particular to do. Thought you 
might like to run down and pick up the scent." 

'* Thanks," returned X 157, " but I've got troubles of 
my own." 

" Sorry to hear it. Hope you get home for Christ- 
mas," said the plane politely and, darting up a long swell, 
fluttered booming away into the distance. 

" Cheerful beggar," observed Bainbridge. Then, 
turning, he perceived the figure of his chief engineer 
ascending into view. The chief engineer was a most 
unbeautiful man in greasy overalls, who saluted by 
knocking the rimed sweat from his forehead. 

" Temporary repairs completed, sir. I think that I 
can get twelve knots out of her." 

" I want at least fifteen," said Bainbridge, who a 
moment since would have been content with steerage- 
way. 

The engineer replied that fifteen was possible but un- 
salutary, and went below with a clear conscience. 



THE CHRISTMAS FIGHT OF X 157 43 

Shortly thereafter X 157 swung her sharp nose to the 
southeast and sped quivering toward the spot where an 
innocent ship had died. Lieutenant Bainbridge, in the 
wheelhouse, felt a sudden cheerfulness warm his breast 
at this unexpected turn of fortune. 

" If the luck holds," said he to his second in command, 
" we may bump into something." 

" Amen ! " replied the second, a youth of tender years, 
who had been in the navy since April. 

" The Fish is a late-type boat," continued Bainbridge 
reflectively, " which means that he can stay down a long 
time without wagging a fin. I'd give odds that he hasn't 
budged from the scene of the crime." 

" The best murderers don't," agreed the second in com- 
mand; and he bustled forward to see to his shiny three- 
inch gun, which had never let loose at anything more ex- 
hilarating than a canvas target. 

For an hour X 157 drove on through ever thickening 
squalls — real Christmas weather, it would have been 
called ashore — until she blundered into a small sargasso 
of wreckage : the remains of the torpedoed merchantman. 
Then she shut off her motors, lest the throb of the pro- 
pellers should carry down under, and became a gray ghost 
drifting in the swish of the blizzard. 

It was pure chance ; but so are most of the larger ad- 
ventures of this world, including love and life. The 
afternoon wore on with infinite suspense. The sea was 
an oily leviathan with a bad conscience, that moaned and 
tumbled on its bed. The sky was a crumbling eternity 
of snow, through which the sun showed from time to 
time, like a lantern muffled with wet cloths. 

There was no certainty in heaven or on earth except 
the cold wind tossing the colder spray — that and the 
loaded gun on X iS7's foredeck. 

Then abruptly the tension snapped. There was a shrill 
cry from the bridge; a jumble of shouted commands; the 
shift of muffled figures falling into place ; the sudden re- 
sumed beat of the motors — followed instantly by a flash 
and a roar as of the universe being torn apart. Out of 
the white smother of the storm, out of the tortured breast 



44 WAR STORIES 

of the sea, had come a slimy monster with a curious 
growth -upon its back and the characters " U 309 " quite 
plain upon its dripping sides. 

The second in command said afterward that it was the 
most surprised-looking submarine he had ever encoun- 
tered. " Up it came, expecting to find everything cheer- 
ful as a graveyard. And there we were — waiting. The 
trouble was that it rose directly under our bows, so that 
I couldn't get the sights on. I saw a man's head stick- 
ing out of the conning tower, and I fired at that. But 
you can't do fancy shooting with a three-inch gun at ten 
yards. I jarred him though." 

The interval immediately following that first shot was 
one of exquisite agony. To Bainbridge it seemed as 
though X 157 would never answer her wheel. The sub- 
marine, meanwhile, had recovered from her natural 
astonishment and was making desperate efforts to sub- 
merge. But fate and the rejuvenated luck were kind. 
The three-inch gun roared again. This time the shell 
struck fair and true at the base of the conning tower, 
lifted it bodily overside and tore a beautiful, gaping hole 
in the monster's back. Whatever else she might do, the 
Devil Fish would not dive again. 

But the submarine proved to be a creature of consid- 
erable resource. Out of the hole in her body, like so 
many angry hornets, poured her men, each with a rifle 
in his hand. At the same time there appeared magically 
upon her afterdeck something long and black and busi- 
nesslike, which was promptly seized upon by her people 
and pointed at X 157's exposed flank. 

And at that extremely critical moment a blinding tem- 
pest of snow dropped like a curtain upon the face of the 
waters, completely blotting the submarine from view. 
It was as though she had been made invisible by some 
Satanic legerdemain. 

Now, there are precedents for every turn and twist of 
naval warfare ; but the difficulty is that one has not usu- 
ally the time to consult them. It was no academic ad- 
herence to precedent that impelled Lieutenant Bainbridge 
to issue his next command. It was inspiration pure and 



THE CHRISTMAS FIGHT OF X 157 45 

simple, the nameless instinct of a fighting race to get at 
the vitals of its foe. 

" Full speed ahead ! " 

Immediately X 157 lunged forward through the oblit- 
erating drift, quivering in all her parts. The crouched 
figures grouped about the deck gun braced themselves for 
the shock. Only the commander seemed to retain his 
accustomed calm. His directions to the helmsman came 
in the cool, quiet voice that begets instant obedience: 

" Port a little — a little more Steady ! Hold her 

there ! " 

Then, quite as though it had been arranged by some 
bit of stage trickery, the long black hull of the submarine 
loomed out of the slavering waters, for all the world like 
a wounded sea serpent which nevertheless still carried a 
sting in its tail. There were unidentified shouts, screams, 
and sudden furious movements among the enemy's gun 
crew. The next instant, with a ragged cheer from her 
own people, X 157 drove straight into the hostile firing 
party, raised her knife-like bows and brought them down 
with a sickening crash upon U 309's piece of ordnance, 
which did not go off as planned. In fact it remained 
securely anchored in X 157's forehold, to the great relief 
of those concerned. 

At this juncture the American boat reverted to a type 
of attack generally considered obsolete. She decided to 
board the submarine. Her decision was hastened some- 
what by the fact that she had observed the enemy's bow 
gun being prepared for action. 

So Lieutenant Bainbridge gave the order and, draw- 
ing his automatic, jumped to the U-boat's icy deck. He 
was followed by most of the crew, armed with rifles and 
othei? weapons, some of which are not prescribed in the 
regulations. The second in command unlimbered 
X 157's only machine gun and, joyfully assisted by the 
helmsman, played a stream of lead upon the enemy's 
forequarters, which immediately ceased to be dangerous. 

The picture is one for the brush rather than for the 
pen. The two boats at death grip, locked together by a 
four-point-seven gun which ever and anon some inspired 



46 WAR STORIES 

foeman attempts to explode; the white heavens crum- 
bling down, as though to hide the spectacle of man at- 
tacking man; the black water lathering alongside, or 
foaming over the slippery deck ; the sun like a guttering 
lantern, swung so the gods might see the crackle of rifle 
fire; the little stabs of flame; the sudden apparition of 
X 157's men pouring over her crumpled bows; the cries, 
the shouts, the clash of weapons — all roaring and revolv- 
ing about the person of a one-armed man who strode 
through literal hell unscathed! 

Him the enemy saw outlined against the pale light, a 
grim figure with a vivid face, who lived among the light- 
ning flashes as a mountain lives above the storm. How 
rank should discover rank in that hurly-burly of strug- 
gling forms is something of a mystery, but the fact re- 
mains that Lieutenant Bainbridge and the German com- 
mander met upon that precarious deck, awash with 
foaming seas. 

Bainbridge's automatic had long since spat out its con- 
tents. The other apparently had several shots left. He 
came lunging and slipping toward the American, his big, 
round face luminous with rage, his close-clipped blond 
hair bristling furiously above his pale brow. Raising 
his arm, he was about to fire pointblank at Bainbridge, 
when a clubbed rifle, swung from behind, knocked the 
revolver from his hand. Whereupon the two com- 
manders were left standing face to face, with no weapons 
but those which nature had provided them. 

At this point let us again quote the second in com- 
mand, who observed the ensuing incident from X iS7's 
wheelhouse, where he had remained for purposes of se- 
lective sniping: 

" The skipper was immense. Simply immense.^ He 
stepped in with a hard right to the jaw, and Fritz dropped 
like a log. Poor Fritz! He was lost without his little 
popgun. He didn't know how to use his hands. He 
just stood there with his eyes bulging out of his head and 
waited for developments. Then the skipper dropped Jiim 
and the show was over." 

The show was indeed over. That one blow, with bare 



THE CHRISTMAS FIGHT OF X 157 47 

fist, had settled the whole grim business. The surviving 
Germans came forward and surrendered. They were 
disarmed and shepherded aboard X 157. As for the 
gentleman who did not know how to use his hands, he 
was revived and placed for his health in the skipper's 
cabin, where a guard attended him. 

These things having been accomplished, as Caesar 
would say, X 157 looked about to see what damage had 
been done and how much of it was reparable. She 
found her entire forehold in splinters, but she remedied 
this by closing the forward bulkhead. Subsequently she 
backed clear of the foe, only to discover that a seam had 
opened up amidships. So she stuffed the leak with cot- 
ton waste and other things and, by means of earnest 
pumping, contrived to keep afloat. 

But she was not content with the mere rudiments of 
navigation. Finding that her motors were more or less 
intact, she decided to tow the submarine. So she set off, 
with the Devil Fish sloughing behind her and the lash of 
a holiday blizzard whipping overhead. Eight knots to 
the hour and the pumps .going continuously ! Along to- 
ward six o'clock she met a British destroyer, who thought 
that she was dying and who offered to take her prize in 
charge. 

" Not much," wirelessed X 157 in reply; " TU carry my 
own Christmas presents home ! " 

In the gay dawn of a most holy Christian Day a crip- 
pled boat came limping into a clamorous harbor, and de- 
livered her Gift to the authorities. A few hours later 
the civilized world, and doubtless the uncivilized as well, 
knew that the famous Devil Fish had been captured, for 
even the rigors of a wartime censorship could not sup- 
press that bit of history. London and Washington ex- 
changed congratulatory cablegrams, and before night- 
fall Lieutenant Bainhridge, U. S. N., had received Christ- 
mas greetings from a king. 

But it was not the telegram from royalty that made 
Lieutenant Bainbridge's day complete. It was something 
ineffably more precious; something that looked out of 
the eyes of the little nurse as she welcomed him " home." 



48 WAR STORIES 

He had gone up to the hospital on the hill, and had 
found her arranging a tree for the wounded. It was a 
very modest tree, with candles saved over from last year, 
but it cast a peculiar radiance upon the face of the little 
nurse. " I prayed that you would be returned to us. 
Monsieur," she said. 

" Well, here I am," replied Bainbridge with a confused 
laugh. 

Then the room filled up with a crowd of joyous shat- 
tered humans — the lame, the halt and the blind! — who 
greeted Bainbridge with frivolous applause and proceeded 
to go into ecstasies of admiration over the tree. 

Hours later Bainbridge and the little nurse went out 
upon the terrace to look at the stars, which are the street 
lamps of heaven; and a choir of light-hearted convales- 
cents sang Christmas carols for their exclusive benefit. 

And the little nurse cried because, as she explained, it 
was so altogether beautiful. 

" Oh, Monsieur," she said, " there is so much to be 
thankful for, even now. Sometimes I feel that in losing 
my country I have gained . . . the whole world ! " 

But Bainbridge was looking with proprietary interest 
at the stars. 



* « Red, White and Blue ** 

By Dana Burnet 

It was the evening of July third. Lieutenant James 
Loring, of the Franco-American Escadrille, was flying 
peacefully homeward through the golden haze of twi- 
light. Far below him, a brown scar ran unevenly across 
the earth's surface, broken here and there by curious dark 
splotches. The brown scar was the German Front Line 
and the dark splotches were ruined French villages. 

Four black clouds, each widi a white lightning in its 
heart, burst suddenly across the young aviator's path. 
At the same time the plane veered like a shying horse. 
Loring pushed his " stick " far forward ; dropped a thou- 
sand feet sheer ; flattened out, and continued his peaceful 
homeward flight. 

" Some day," he promised himself, " I'm going down 
and chastise that particular boche battery. But not till 
I've had my little Fourth of July celebration ! " 

He smiled as he thought of the note that he had just 
dropped behind the German trenches. The note, at- 
tached to a steel dart and released at a point where it 
was certain to be observed, had been addressed to " Cap- 
tain Heidemann, Imperial Flying Corps, German Army, 
France." It contained a challenge to Heidemann, a famous 
enemy Ace, to meet Lieutenant Loring at eight o'clock 
the next morning in an air duel above the German 
lines. Loring's machine was to be distinguished by the 
American colors. The fact that such a duel could end 
only in the death of one of the contestants did not trouble 
the youthful challenger. 

"It's going to be a real, old-fashioned Fourth," he re- 

* By permission of Mc duress and Dana Burnet. Copyright, 19 1 8, by 
The McClure Publications Inc. 

49 



50 WAR STORIES 

fleeted, grimly, as he climbed high above the line of 
descending French sausage balloons. " Hope I can dig 
up a flag somewhere — p-" 

The problem of securmg his flag was the one detail of 
the affair that concerned him. However, there were 
numerous American flags in the little village that served 
as headquarters for the escadrille; he had seen them 
coloring the shop windows for months — ever since the 
United States had declared war. 

The golden tints faded swiftly out of the evening sky. 
A gray vapor began to shroud the earth beneath him ; a 
thick, obliterating mist that wiped away the last illusion 
of a world already grown dim. . . . Familiar landmarks 
melted into the fog. Bald-headed hills, clumps of wood 
stripped naked by the iron storm, sank into oblivion. 
Nevertheless, as long as he carried the friendly roar of 
the motor in his ears, he had no doubt of his ability to 
get home. 

Precisely at that moment the friendly roar changed to 
a spasmodic outburst of staccato explosions, followed in- 
stantly by a deafening silence. The motor had stopped. 

Immediately Loring tilted his plane forward; began 
to soar down in long sweeping circles that brought him 
rapidly earthward. A dark patch appeared in the gray 
haze below him; he skimmed like a frightened swallow 
over the top of a ghastly little wood, made one last swoop, 
lifted the nose of his machine and ran bumping along the 
shell-torn ground. 

He had landed in a field surrounded on three sides by 
the bleaching skeleton of a dead forest ; the trees towered 
white and terrible in the gloom, like some infernal plant- 
ing of bones. At the far end of the field stood the re- 
mains of a tiny village whose tragic profile was outlined 
plainly against the darkening sky. 

Loring knew that this section of the front had been 
recently fought over. Only forty-eight hours earlier he 
had taken part in the attack that had wrested a few kilo- 
meters of it from the Germans. Climbing down from 
his machine he made his way toward the ruined village, 
expecting to find it occupied by a French patrol. 



"RED, WHITE AND BLUE" 51 

As he drew nearer he perceived one house that still 
possessed its roof. The other houses were mere broken 
fragments waiting to be swallowed by the mud. It was 
no new sight to Loring ; he had witnessed hundreds of 
such villages strewing the charnel fields of France. Nev- 
ertheless, he shuddered. There was a peculiar silence, a 
peculiar sombreness upon this village. 

Apparently, too, it was quite deserted. He walked up 
to the door of the single remaining house, which was no 
more than a hollow shell, and thrust in his head. A 
woman was sitting on a pile of rubbish, laughing quietly 
to herself. . . . 

She was a young woman with snow-white hair, and 
she laughed as though at some jest that would never be 
done. Her face, despite the heavy lines of suffering 
carved upon it, still had the smooth contours of youth. 
There was a smoldering madness in her eyes. 

When she saw the aviator standing in the doorway she 
sprang up with a despairing cry. " Vous etes venu cher- 
cher mes morts! Alors, je vous dis, vous ne les trouverez 
jamais!'' 

The young American, who could stake his life as care- 
lessly as a street gamin flips a penny, who was prepared 
at any moment to play double or quits with death, felt 
his blood run cold. Then he realized the woman's plight, 
and an immediate pity surged over him. In voluble slip- 
shod French he strove to reassure her as to his presence ; 
but she shrank away from him. 

" You have an accent ! " she said. 

Loring nodded. 

" I am an American." 

At once the woman's expression changed to one of 
awed curiosity. She came forward, and touched him 
timidly with her hand. 

"An American ! " she repeated. "An American ! They 
said that you would never come." 

" They lied," said Loring. 

The woman continued to look at him. 

"It is well that you have come. There are so many 
of those boches " 



52 WAR STORIES 

Loring made a gesture. 

" Tell me," he said ; " are there no French soldiers 
here — no officers ? " 

"I do not know. I have been hiding ever since the 
bombardment." She passed her hand across her face. 
" Two — three days. The boches took all those of us 
who were young. The rest of us — I am one of the old 
ones now — ^they told to go into the houses. Then they 
went away, and by and by the shells began to fall : boom! 
boom! Many were killed — I can see them now, tumbling 
over like puppets in the Punch and Judy show ! But I 
was clever. I hid — I will not tell you where! This 
morning I came out ... to laugh." 

A sudden weakness seized her; she put out one hand 
and caught his sleeve. 

" I am very hungry," she murmured ; then, gripping his 
arm, she said : " If you are truly an American, you must 
have brought food ! " 

A grim smile passed over the young aviator's face. 

Fumbling through his pockets, he found his emergency 
rations, consisting of some bread and cheese. With his 
clasp-knife he cut this modest provender into small por- 
tions, which he gave piecemeal to the woman, saving only 
a few mouthfuls for himself. Finally he produced his 
wine flask and held it to her lips. She took a long 
draught ; then drew back, wiping her mouth with her 
hand. 

"Ah, but that was good ! " she said. " Now I can sit 
down and laugh for a long time.*' 

" Why do you laugh ? " asked Loring gently. 

" Because it is such an excellent joke. Monsieur — a joke 
on the boches. They said to me, long ago — when my 
hair was brown — that they would leave nothing in the 
village, not so much as a saucepan! Well, Monsieu*, 
they did their best — and they are very clever at such 
things, those boches! — but I was cleverer than they. 
Look, Monsieur ! " 

She stopped, and turned up the edge of her skirt. 

There, thrust into the hem of it, was an ordinary house- 
wife's needle. 



i 



•• RED, WHITE AND BLUE '• 53 



" See ! " she said. " They did not get my needle. 
That's what I call a good joke on the boches " 

" Good Lord ! " exclaimed Loring. 

" More than that, Monsieur, I saved almost a whole 
candle. It is buried in the rubbish there. But I have no 
matches " 

" I have a briquet,'* said Loring. 

" Is it the kind of briquet that makes a flame? " 

" Yes." 

" Then I will dig up the candle, and we will have a 
light. It is a long time since I have seen a candle bum, 
and the night is coming on." 

Dropping to her knees, she thrust her fingers into the 
pile of debris, and drew forth a tallow candle. Loring 
applied his precious briquet to the wick, and soon a feeble 
radiance was struggling with the great shadow that filled 
the world. 

" Name of God," said the woman, " but that is very 
gay ! " And she began to laugh. 

Loring placed his hand upon her shoulder. 

" You must not laugh," he said. 

**Eh bien, Monsieur, I will weep if you prefer it. I 
can do either." 

" No, no ! You must think. You must try to help 
me 



" Who are you, Monsieur ? I have forgotten 



I am an aviator," said Loring, speaking slowly and 
distinctly. " I have met with misfortune. Look, there 
is my machine in the field there." 

"Ah ! " said the woman. " You are one of those angels 
of death, then ! I used to see them on clear days, flying 
over the village with the little circles under their 
wings." 

" To-morrow," said Loring, " I will fly over the Ger- 
man lines to fight a certain boche aviator. I have chal- 
lenged him. It is necessary to my honor, it is necessary 
to the honor of my country that I meet him at the ap- 
pointed time." 

" But if you have had an accident ? " 

" That is just it ! That is why I must find help. Come, 



54 WAR STORIES 

Madame, you must tell me where the French are. Try 
to remember ! " 

The woman shook her head. 

" I remember nothing but the bombardment^ which still 
goes in my ears. That, and the faces of my dead . . ." 

She sank down upon the rubbish heap in a veri- 
table daze. Loring knelt beside her; took her hands in 
his. 

" You must help me/* he said. " To-morrow is my 
fete day, the day when all good Americans celebrate the 
anniversary of their freedom! I am going to fight the 
boche in honor of the event! I am going to get an 
American flag, and fasten it to the wires of my ma- 
chine " 

The woman smiled delightedly. 

" That will be splendid," she said, " to fly your flag in 
the boche's face ! " 

" But you see," concluded Loring, " unless I can get 
into touch with my command, I shall never obtain my 
flag." 

A vague sympathy showed in the woman's eyes. 

" I will make you a flag. Monsieur. I have my needle. 
And what is a flag, when you think of it? A thing to 
wave in the wind, a thing to hang out of windows, a thing 
to dream of, to die for, yes! But after all, a thing of 
cloth ; a thing of colored fabrics sewed together. What 
are the colors of your flag. Monsieur ? " 

" Red, white and blue," responded Loring, mechanic- 
ally. He was wondering what the chances would be of 
finding a French patrol. Would it be worth the risk to 
go stumbling about in the dark? He might get a bullet 
through his head; or he might end up in the German 
trenches. Such things had been known to happen; and 
the new local offensive had twisted the lines about like 
old wire. Would it not be better to wait until daybreak ? 

" I will make a flag. Monsieur." 

" What do you say ? " 

For reply, the woman took a charred stick from the 
pile of debris and gave it to Loring. She then swept 
back some of the litter at her feet. 



"RED, WHITE AND BLUE" 55 

" Draw there for me the plan of your flag," she said, 
" and I will make it according to the pattern." 

" The devil ! " said Loring, helplessly. But he ac- 
cepted the stick nevertheless, and drew upon the naked 
floor a rough design of the Stars and Stripes, pausing 
frequently to blacken the point of the stick in the can- 
dle's flame. The alternate stripes he marked " rouge," 
" blanc," " roug<2," " blanc," and indicated by little crosses 
the field of stars. 

" That is very plain," said the woman, staring down 
at the floor, " and I am very clever with my needle. You 
shall see. As for the thread, I can take a raveling from 
my skirt." 

" But you have no cloth ! " 

She smiled her vague and tremulous smile. 

" God will provide the cloth," she said. 

Loring felt absurdly disappointed. He had for- 
gotten for a moment that he was dealing with a mad 
woman. ... 

He turned and strode to the doorway ; looked out into 
the darkness of the summer night. The air was shaken 
by the continual rumble of artillery. In the distance he 
could see the red flashes of the guns, and occasionally the 
high curving burst of a star-shell, hanging like a long- 
stemmed flower on the night. From somewhere across 
the desolate waste of No Man's Land came the brisk 
chatter of a machine gun, running on like gossip at a 
grave. Once he heard the whine of shrapnel in the air, 
that " sound of the devil spitting through his teeth," and 
then the machine guns again. He drew back with a 
shrug of resignation. 

" No use wandering about in that hell's desert," he 
muttered. Then addressing the woman he said cour- 
teously : " Madame, will you permit me to spend the night 
beneath your roof ? " 

" Willingly, Monsieur," she replied. " But I warn 
you, there are holes in it." 

" One is lucky to have any kind of roof these days," 
said Loring. " I will take this corner here, if it is not 
your own sleeping place ? " 



56 WAR STORIES 

" I never sleep, Monsieur. For when one sleeps, one 
dreams, and that is very terrible." 

Loring looked at her in grim silence. Then, realizing 
that the situation was quite beyond control, and that 
there was nothing to be done until morning, went 
promptly to sleep. 

The woman waited until she heard him breathing regu- 
larly. She then crept to his side, stooped down and with 
careful fingers drew from his pocket the knife that he 
had used to cut the bread and cheese. Opening it, she 
ran her thumb along the blade. 

"Ah," she whispered, " that is a good, sharp knife." 

Rising, she took up the candle, and guarding the flame 
with her hand, glided like a shadow toward the rear of 
the ruined house. There was a little fantastic dance of 
shadows upon the broken ceiling; boards creaked; then 
the light disappeared. 

Loring awoke to a sense of strangeness, of profound 
unreality that he could not at first overcome. He lay 
upon his back and stared up at the gray heavens revealed 
through a shell-hole in the roof. It was early morn- 
ing. 

He turned his head and saw the young woman with 
the snow-white hair seated upon the floor sewing by the 
light of a flickering candle. Her attitude was that of one 
who performs some solemn religious rite. Her head was 
bowed. Her needle rose and fell witb a sort of un- 
earthly rhythm, as slowly, as inexorably as the weaving 
shuttles of Fate. Across her knees lay an unmistakable 
replica of the American flag. 

It was clearly an improvisation. The cloths of which 
it was made were faded and soiled; the stripes were too 
few ; the stars were a random constellation. Yet Loring, 
gazing at it in bewilderment, had the feeling that he was 
beholding one of earth's supreme symbols. 

He got dazedly to his feet. 

** You have worked a miracle, Madame ! " 

The woman raised her eyes to his. She was deathly 
pale, and there was a certain tragic frailty in her voice. 
She spoke with simple directness, too, as though she had 



•'RED, WHITE AND BLUE" 57 

passed through suffering to some high sanity of the 

soul. 

" No, Monsieur, it is not a miracle. It is only the 
strange fruit of circumstance. I said that God would 
provide you with a flag, but it was not God, Monsieur; 
it was Death ! " 

The young American bent down and scanned closely 
the woman's handiwork. 

" Where did you get the material ? " he asked. 

She regarded him for a moment impassively. Then, 
with a calm, conclusive gesture she broke off her thread, 
placed the flag over her left arm, and taking up the 
candle, rose to her feet. 

" You will fight better if I show you," she said. " Come 
with me. Monsieur." 

She led him into a back room that had once been the 
kitchen of the house, and brushing aside the rubbish with 
her foot, disclosed a trap-door which she bade him open. 
He did so, and perceived a flight of steps leading down 
into semi-darkness. 

" I will go first," said the woman. 

Loring followed her down the steps. It was like 
descending into a tomb. There was a chill dampness in 
the air, and the odor was that of a grave. 

The tremulous yellow light of the candle revealed a 
cellar eight or ten feet square, the walls of which were 
covered by a glistening sweat. Upon the mud floor of 
this subterranean chamber lay three corpses: the bodies 
of an old man, an old woman, and a child. 

" Here are my dead," said the woman, in a voice with- 
out emotion, and proceeded with the awful introduction : 
*'Ma mere, mon pere, et mon petit enfant/' 

Loring looked at the three still forms ; then turned and 
stared with sudden comprehension at the flag which the 
woman held in her hand. 

" I understand," he said slowly ; and indeed the thing 
was apparent enough. A single glance sufficed to show 
where the woman had got her cloths. 

The blouse of the old man had been a faded blue. 
There was a square patch cut out of it, just o^er the 



58 WAR STORIES 

heart. The old woman had worn a red skirt. It was in 
ribbons. The child had been covered with a white cloth. 
That, too, was hacked and cut. . . . 

" Good God ! " exclaimed Loring, as full realization of 
the circumstances struck him. 

The woman smiled. 

" Did I not say that Death ? " she began. But 

suddenly her voice failed her. The stump of a candle 
slipped from her hand to the floor, leaving the room gray 
with the light of morning. Gray, too, was the woman's 
face as she stood leaning against the wall, with the smile 
dying on her lips, and a certain childlike wonder dawn- 
ing in her eyes. 

Summoning the last vestige of her strength she held 
out to him the flag. 

** Take it, Monsieur," she said. " I have made it for 
your fete day." Then her eyes closed. " I think that I 
am going to sleep, after all. . . . Pray for me, 
Monsieur. . . . Pray that I do not • . . dream." 

She swayed toward him. He caught her in his arms 
and lowered her gently to the floor. For a moment he 
remained thus bending over her; then straightened up, 
with the flag that she had made for him clenched in his 
hand. 

" God — damn — them ! " he said. . . . 

He was smiling as he reached the open air. It was 
good to be alive, good to be young and vigorous ; good to 
realize that the enemy you desired to kill eminently de- 
served killing! He knew, as he strode across the pock- 
marked field toward the machine that stood waiting there, 
that he would meet Heidemann ; knew also that he would 
slay or be slain. 

So he was not surprised when, upon lifting the hood of 
the motor, the cause of the difficulty almost immediately 
manifested itself. A bit of shrapnel, hurled at him the 
night before by the German " archies," had struck the 
main feed wire, cutting the insulation eventually, caus- 
ing the wire to snap. Five minutes' work repaired the 
damage. 

He then fastened the woman's flag to one of the stays 



" RED, WHITE AND BLUE " 59 

of his machine, saluted it briskly and seized the pro- 
peller blade. The task of cranking up was one of heroic 
proportions, but he managed it somehow. After twenty 
minutes of unremitting labor the motor came thunder- 
ously to life. The plane lunged awkwardly toward him. 
He sprang up on the lower wing, clambered desperately 
into the pilot's seat and grasped the steering-lever. 

The sound of the motor became a steady, heartening 
roar. The plane sped rocking across the uneven ground ; 
soared suddenly into the air. The flag at its wing-tip 
stood out in momentary boldness, revealing* to an un- 
observant world its quaint stars and stripes. 

The sun rose above the desolated wood. 

The official communique of the French Army devoted 
three sentences to that duel in the air. The correspondents 
spun it out to a column. What History will say of it is 
still a matter of conjecture, because History, despite wire- 
less, dictaphones and the typewriter, has not been able 
to keep pace with the. War. Poor History! What a 
fearful lot of copy she will have to turn out between now 
and press-time! 

It was just eight o'clock when Lieutenant Loring 
crossed the German lines. A few moments later he per- 
ceived an enemy machine flying toward him. He recog- 
nized it by the peculiar dragon-shaped body as Heide- 
mann's. 

At once both aviators began to climb. Half a mile 
below, the German anti-aircraft gun crew that had been 
spraying the sky with shrapnel, stood with phlegmatic 
faces turned heavenward, waiting for their champion to 
down this presumptuous foe, who carried only a wisp 
of bunting on his wing-tip to distinguish him! 

Heidemann, the Dragon Fly, is over him now. A 
mighty swoop, a quick stab of the lightning that he 
knows so well how to employ. . . . Ah, there he 
goes! But no. Wisp of Bunting drops fluttering, a 
straight nose-dive that brings him suddenly into plain 
focus. Dragon-Fly comes plunging after him, with sharp 
chatter of steel, rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat ! 

Well, he has got him that time! Wisp of Bunting 



6o WAR STORIES 

slips off sidewise, like a wounded duck ; turns reeling to- 
ward his own lines. Dragon-Fly circles above him, 
seems to pause in mid-career, then darts down for the 
final accounting. 

At the same moment Wisp of Bunting shoots dizzily 
upward, performs a rapid loop and in the twinkling of 
an eye, by a sort of aerial legerdemain, has reversed 
positions with his adversary. Instantly he seizes the ad- 
vantage; points the nose of his machine swiftly down- 
ward ; presses the firing-button upon the top of his steer- 
ing-lever. • 

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat ! 

Dragon-Fly hangs drunkenly in air, then dips forward 
and plunges crashing to earth in the sight of two armies. 

That night, in a certain village behind the French lines, 
there was given a dinner for the American members of 
the escadrille. It was a real Fourth of July dinner, with 
appropriate embellishments and yards of patriotic bunt- 
ing. But in the place of honor, over the picture of Wash- 
ington on the mess-room wall, hung Lieutenant Loring's 
droll little flag. . . . 

Lieutenant Loring himself was present, and was re- 
quested to make a speech, which he indignantly refused 
to do. 

But a famous French General, who had been invited 
to dine with the mess, rose and said : 

" In all the world to-night there is no worthier symbol 
of freedom than that flag upon your wall there. In 
saluting it, I salute not only the colors of America, but 
of France as well. Nay, more, I salute the very gar- 
ments of her dead. Messieurs! Let us drink to the 
red, the white, and the blue. A la victoirel " 

The mess surged to its feet, with deep responsive 
voices, and the chorus went thundering out into the 
night 

"A la victoirel " 



* Underseaboat F-33 

By Donn Byrne 

She had slipped out of the mouth of the Elbe that 
morning — two hundred feet of sinister dull metal — past 
a forest of shipping, schooners, barks, barkentines, tramp 
steamers, passenger liners : past the lugubrious, futile line 
of men-of-war, caught in the harbor, like rats in a comer, 
and had punched her way into the snapping swell of the 
North Sea. Three hours out, fifty miles, the bridge had 
caught sight of the grim, waiting Hne of British battle- 
ships, squat, ugly, efficient, with thin tendrils of smoke 
floating dreamily from their stacks, like tobacco fumes 
from the pipe of an idler. She had dived instantaneously 
to sixty feet, and slipped cautiously past, hugging the 
shore. The officers of the bridge had mopped wet fore- 
heads and laughed short, uneasy laughs of relief when 
she rose in safety twenty miles farther out. In that two 
hours and a half's submersion they had trusted blindly to 
Fate against sudden death. For even at sixty feet be- 
neath the battle line there were dangers — mines cunningly 
balanced and vast, powerful steel nets — incredible, hor- 
rible things. 

She was out of danger and a clear sea before her, 
Schroeder said to himself as he leaned over the rail of 
the collapsible bridge, six feet two of clean bone and 
sinew. The lean Bavarian quartermaster at the wheel 
looked at him with eyes eloquent with admiration, taking 
in his square, fighter's head: the closely cropped blond 
hair showing beneath the commander's cap; the heavy, 
clef ted chin ; the firm, thin mouth ; the high cheek-bones ; 
half-closed grayish-blue eyes ; the bull's neck. The quar- 

* By permission of Scr^ner's and Donn Byrne. Copyright, 1916, by 
Charles Scribner's Sons. 

61 



62 WAR STORIES 

termaster looked at his hands as they held on to the rail, 
two great square, brown things. He shivered a little as 
he thought of those at his throat. 

The commander drew himself up slowly, with the de- 
liberate movement of a big animal, and began pacing the 
deck. He took in the fifteen feet of it in five easy strides. 
The submarine was cutting into her course like a racing- 
yacht. A long, thin angle of white foam broke over her 
bow, slapping her steel sides with a flat, metallic sound 
that suggested wood striking iron. Spray boiled over the 
free-board and curled sinuously about the bridge. The 
staccato cough of the gasoline exhaust cut into the air 
with a monotonous rasp. 

Schroeder stopped in stride and glanced at the com- 
pass. 

" Northwest by north/' he read. 

" Northwest by north it is, sir," the quartermaster 
chimed in. 

Schroeder's eye brightened as he looked about. All 
around him, like a vast gray plain, the North Sea 
stretched. The submarine's dull brown against the blue 
of the nearer water suggested a lone porpoise driving 
onward. There was an air of efficiency about everything 
that appealed to Schroder. The sharp, metallic lines of 
the two periscopes, standing up like bare trees on a 
desolate moorland ; the giant rivets on the deck ; the lines 
of the wireless rigging; the bridge that could be taken 
apart and brought below in a minute and a half — com- 
pass, chronometer, and wheel; the delicate, flowing line 
of the great sea-harrier; the bulge of the hidden nine- 
pounder aft; the sinewy quartermaster, bent over the 
horizontal wheel like a chauffeur over the steering-gear 
of an automobile — all gave him a sense of power, of con- 
fidence in man's strength and ability, that sent his pulse 
beating and his eye gleaming with pride. To put to sea 
in a mere husk of steel, to appear and disappear at will, 
to deal death by mere pressure of a button, and all this 
the result of the gray matter that is in every man's skull — 
that was life, he said, that was triumph ! 

He raised his sea-glasses and swept the gray line of 



UNDERSEABOAT F-33 63 

horizon deliberately, searchingly. It seemed all one vast 
expanse of nothingness. Very dimly on the west he 
thought he could distinguish a speck of brown sail — some 
adventurous fisherman trawling for mackerel. But as 
yet nothing for him. He had been detailed to watch the 
Norwegian lane for contraband. Supplies were coming 
into Havre with regularity that came neither down the 
Baltic nor across from America. The grim, iron-fisted 
policy that made the English Channel a nightmare of 
horror was having its effect. Atlantic travel had all but 
stopped, but there was still a formidable leak. May had 
come and the ice had broken in Archangel harbor. A 
shrewd intelligence officer suggested that Russian vessels 
were skirting the Scandinavian coast and creeping south- 
ward, laden to the scuppers with supplies. It was 
Schroeder's task to reconnoitre and if possible to deal a 
stiff lesson. There were rumors too of Danish, and 
Swedish, and Norwegian skippers who didn't mind 
running the blockade for the adventure and the money 
in it. He had been given his own discretion how to act 
in cases not covered by his instructions. He knew how, 
he nodded to himself grimly, and his mouth twisted— he 
knew. 

Somewhere below six rfiuffled tinkles rang out. It was 
seven o'clock. There was the trickle of a musical-comedy 
bar being whistled, and the first lieutenant, a lithe, wiry 
Saxon, with black hair and flashing black eyes, appeared 
through the manhole. He made his way forward. 

" Is that vou, Halbrandt ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Has the wireless got anything? " 

" Not a thing, sir." 

The commander handed over the glasses. 

" I think I'll let you take watch now," he said, in his 
snappy, clean-cut tones. " Keep her off a couple of 
points, and don't take your eye off the sky-line for a 
jnoment. I'm going to turn in. The moment anything 
appears let me know." 

"All right, sir." 

Schroeder took a last look before he left the bridge. 



64 WAR STORIES 

* 

The bow still cut its flurry of foam. A wind had sprung 
up, and was whining through the wireless rigging. The 
vast desert of gray flowed off on all sides. There was 
a pale, hazy red smudge in the west — the setting sun. 

Dawn broke — a faint flurry of pink and mauve. The 
sun flashed up in a great disk of polished brass. The 
plain of the sea extended green to the right and left, 
quivering, nervous, with caps of white foam like patches 
of snow on grass. A keen salt wind blew southward. 
Overhead a gull hovered like an aeroplane. A bunch of 
brown seaweed floated past. The submarine cut into the 
waves like a knife, the sunlight making flashes of rain- 
bow through the foam of the bow. 

The navigating lieutenant turned to Schroeder. 

" She's doing good time," he said. 

" She'll be doing something else besides good time," 
the commander grinned, " if there's any luck at all. Sub- 
marines aren't built for racing; fighting's their best 
suit." 

Hours passed, marked by the tinkle of the bells be- 
low. The watch changed. The sun mounted upward 
and beat down perpendicularly. The rolUng swell of the 
Doggerbank caught and lifted them slowly and meas- 
uredly like the rocking of a cradle. The commander still 
kept to the bridge, scanning the horizon through his 
bulging sea-glasses. He handed them to the officer of 
the watch. 

" Take a look to starboard. See anything? " he asked. 

The officer of the watch, a thin, fair-haired boy, handed 
them back. 

" It looks like smoke," he answered. 

A faint brownish wisp, like the fleece of a cloud, hung 
off the sky-line. The submarine flashed ahead, the 
hollow cough of the exhaust rattling out its staccato 
routine. The wisp on the horizon grew more distinct. 
It resolved itself into two thin trickles of brown. 
Schroeder swung about on his heel. 

" East-northeast," he snapped to the quartermaster at 
the wheel ; " keep her off. Port a bit. A bit more. 
Steady ! Steady ! " 



UNDERSEABOAT F.33 65 

The bow of the submarine swung around in a segment 
of foam. Schroeder shut his glasses with a click. . 

" Clear the decks," he rasped. 

The officer of the watch raised his whistle to his lips. 
It cut into the air in three shrill blasts. Blue-bloused 
forms swung up the manhole steps, swung onto the iron 
deck, and scurried forward. Quartermasters issued short, 
crisp orders. There was the whine of ropes through 
pulleys. Locks clicked. Compass, chronometer, and 
muffled search-light disappeared like a conjurer's trick. 
Somewhere a bell rang out a brazen signal. 

"All below," Schroeder ordered. 

The shield of the manhole shut to with a hollow clang. 
Below was a narrow passage of steel, lighted at intervals 
with electric bulbs. Great veins of wiring passed along 
the walls — huge, ungainly things. Schroeder bent his six 
feet two as he picked his way along the metal passage 
toward the conning-tower. At intervals doors opened in 
the alley, like the staterooms of a liner. On each side 
little cubby-holes of alcoves showed, marvels of compact- 
ness and inch-saving; the quarters of the officers and 
crew, long, inadequate things, with bunks lining them like 
rows of shelves; pantries; the galley, with its cunning 
electric devices for cooking; the arsenal, with the flash- 
ing colonnades of rifles caught to the wall; storerooms; 
lockers. He turned and made one last round before sub- 
mersion. He passed through the engine-room, where the 
mechanics pottered around the giant oil-engines ; through 
the storage-batteries, where lean electricians in brown 
jumpers passed from jar to jar with the eyes of hawks. 
He walked forward to the torpedo-chamber in the bow, 
with its arc light throwing dim blue-and-black shadows 
among the flashing steel capsules that held the deadly 
projectiles. The torpedo lieutenant stepped forward to 
meet him. 

'All shipshape here, sir," the lieutenant reported.. 

'All seven in order? " Schroeder asked. 

" Every one ready. Gyroscopes fitted and air con- 
nections made." 

The commander picked his way out through the lines 






66 WAR STORIES 

of steel tubing that led to the compressed-air chambers. 
He stepped through the torpedo-storeroom, where a 
gunner was making a tally of material; through the 
operating-room, with its walls covered by a bewildering 
series of wiring, of coils, transformers, gauges, wheels, 
levers, and clutches, the whole making a grotesque 
mechanical puzzle that seemed past human brains to 
solve. The engineer lieutenant passed from one gauge to 
another. His mate pored over a blue-print. Schroeder 
swung out into the alley again, and clambered up the 
ladder to the conning-tower. He turned to the helmsman 
sitting with his eye to the periscope. 

" Mark for the smoke to starboard," he directed. 
" Have you got it ? " 

" Ready, sir." 

Schroeder reached for the lever of the signal-box. It 
came back with a click to half-speed ahead. There was 
the high, whining whir of a motor being started. The 
iron frame of the submarine began to vibrate with a 
nervous pulsing movement. There was the tang of oil 
in the air. The commander picked the telephone receiver 
from the wall. 

" Open tanks 2 and 5, port and starboard," he ordered. 

There was a slight wallow from right to left and back 
again. The whir of the motors became a throaty rumble. 

" Drop the diving-planes. Seven degrees," he directed 
the helmsman. 

Water rose above the line of square port-holes in a 
muddy, yellow haze. Prisms and rainbows of refracted 
sunlight glowed through them for a moment in coarse, 
broad colors. The helmsman notched his plane-lever 
with a click, and a blank wall of blue showed before the 
windows, that shaded off gradually into a misty bog of 
green. 

Schroeder glanced about the flattened cylinder of the 
conning-tower, at the automobile wheel of the helmsman, 
at the heavy plane-lever; at the shining brass of the 
compass, chronometer, spirit-level, and depth gauge; at 
the black enamel of the telephone. From above, the steel 
tubes of the periscope jutted downward like rods. He 



UNDERSEABOAT F-33 67 

watched the needle of the gauge creep around to fifty 
feet. 

" Even keel," he ordered. He jerked the lever of the 
signal-box. " Full speed ahead." 

The bow of the submarine rose slowly and steadied. 
The hum of the motors became a high, jarring roar. The 
platform of the conning-tower vibrated like the skin of a 
drum. Little nervous shivers passed from the floor into 
the bodies of the commander and the helmsman and set 
their fingers aquiver. Oil floated through the air in in- 
finitesimal particles, like the odor of machine-works. 
The minute-hand of the chronometer moved twenty times, 
moved thirty, forty, fifty. The commander turned to 
the man at the wheel. 

" Planes up," he ordered. " Easy on. Three degrees. 
Steady on." 

The floor tilted upward. The blue of the water out- 
side the port-holes changed gradually to a dark green, 
became lighter, had a tinge of yellow in it. 

" Even keel," Schroeder said. 

He bent forward and put his eyes to the lens of the 
periscope. A great expanse of blue water met his eye. 
He turned the gun-metal crank easily. The periscope 
revolved. Slowly, like an apparition moving across a 
biograph screen, the bow, the midships, the stem of a 
liner crept into view. Two thousand yards away the two 
black smoke-stacks, the masts, rigging, decks, bridge, and 
boats hove up vaguely as through a mist. Along her sides 
he could distinguish a name painted in giant letters. 

" Starboard," he directed the quartermaster. " More. 
More. Hold her there." 

The liner drew closer as the submarine forced her way 
toward it. It seemed as if the steamer were being drawn 
forward by invisible ropes. On the bridge Schroeder 
could see the figures of the ofiicers like tiny wooden people 
on a child's toy. Little by little the great white letters 
took form. 

" The Olaf Horsa, of Christiania," Schroeder read. 
He reached for the signaling lever and rang for half 
speed. " Bring her up awash," he commanded. 



68 WAR STORIES 

The prisms of light showed through the port-holes as 
the conning-tower rose above water. The motors slowed 
in their whining note. The commander picked up the 
telephone again. 

" Notify wireless," he ordered, " that there's a steamer 
to starboard. Let him signal her to lay to, and to seal 
her Marconi key. Empty ballast tanks. Pipe gun crew 
on deck. Stand by in torpedo-room. Go slow. Go 
dead slow. Stop." 

He stepped out of the conning-tower, and into the steel 
alleyway. Bluejackets dodged past on their way above 
or to the torpedo-room. Somewhere a whistle piped 
shrilly. He* picked his steps up the manhole ladder, un- 
hooking the megaphone from its catch as he went. 

Three hundred yards away the big steamer rolled to 
the waves like a pendulum. Her bulk stood out like a 
great house in a flat country. Schroeder could see the 
group of gesticulating officers crowd together on the 
edge of the bridge. Along the shelter and saloon decks 
figures leaned over the railing and gaped at the sub- 
marine with distended, frightened eyes — stewards, pas- 
sengers, seamen. Groups collected about the boat-deck 
and huddled together as if in fear. Other figures went 
through weird motions, like a calisthenic drill. They 
were tying on life-belts. Schroeder raised the mega- 
phone to his lips. 

" What ship is this ? " he shouted. 

Faintly and thinly the reply trickled in to him, like the 
spent echo of a drum. 

" The Olaf Horsa, Christiania ; Janssen, master." 

" Where are you bound ? " 

" Bound for Southampton." 

" What have you on board ? " 

" Passengers — for trans-shipment to Liverpool." 

" What is your cargo ? " 

There was a brief consultation on the bridge. Schroeder 
could see the officers argue together heatedly. The reply 
came in a faint monosyllable. 

" Grain." 

Schroeder turned around. Amidships the disappearing 



UNDERSEABOAT F.33 69 

gun had been raised from its miniature pit. The sun 
blazed on its steel surface as on a mirror. 

" Give me the telephone," he asked. 

A bluejacket handed him the instrument with its length 
of trailing gray wire. 

" Go slow," he ordered. " Stand by in torpedo-room." 
He turned to the helmsman at the newly fitted jury- 
wheel. 

" Bring her about," he snapped. The bow of the sub- 
marine came around until it pointed directly at the liner. 
" Steady. Dead slow. Stop." He raised the mega- 
phone. His voice rasped like the buzz of a saw. 

"Ahoy, Olaf Horsa! You have ten minutes to take to 
your boats." 

The groups on the boat-deck gathered closer. 
Schroeder could see the officers stand like men trans- 
formed to stone. A figure detached itself from the group. 
Schroeder raised his glasses. The figure walked to the 
rail, shrugged its shoulders, leaned over, and spat in the 
direction oi the submarine. It walked back, its arms 
folded. Schroeder's voice took on a note of rage. 

" Do you hear ? Ten minutes," he megaphoned. 

An officer swung down the companionway of the 
bridge, and hurried aft. There was the ragged pipe of a 
bo's'n's whistle. Men ran to and fro along the decks. 
Figures gesticulated. A knot of people swayed and 
fought together on the shelter-deck. Some one jumped 
overboard, fell in a curve, and struck the water with a 
faint white splash. The wind brought tendrils of con- 
versation, guttural, angry, appealing. 

" One minute gone,' Schroeder marked. 

The boat-deck of the vessel swarmed with people like a 
hive with bees. They crowded about the smoke-stacks, 
and fought their way to the white bulk of the boats. 
They swayed and turned and seethed. The men at the 
crooks of the davits worked like maniacs. 

" Four minutes gone," the commander said. 

The aft starboard boat came downward slowly, the 
oarsmen pushing against the side of the vessel to keep 
from striking. Schroeder could see the colors of 



70 WAR STORIES 

women's clothes in the bow. It struck the water with a 
faint splash. The forward boat dropped with a run and 
struck half-way toward the surface. It swayed to and 
fro. There was a faint scream as three figures stood 
up, tottered, lurched, and fell overboard. 

A hail from the ship came indistinctly across. 

" The forward port boat is stuck. The other won't 
hold all. Give us some time." 

" You have got five minutes left," Schroeder bellowed. 

The boat in the water began pulling frenziedly away 
from the ship. Men and women sprang from the one in 
mid-air, like little black objects being thrown into the 
water. Figures jumped from the decks and hurtled 
through the air like sacks. In the distance a woman 
began screaming, a high, piercing wail like the wind 
through rigging. Again the voice came from the bridge, 
hysterical, babbling, indistinct. 

" Can't you see, damn you . . . impossible • • . a 
little sense . . . mercy, then. These people . . . seven 
hundred miles from land. How, in God's name . . ." 

Schroeder's heavy shoulders lifted. He turned aside 
and watched the second-hand of the chronometer pivot 
jerkily around the dial. The first lieutenant touched him 
on the arm. 

" Look at the bridge," he said. 

Schroeder raised his glasses. The officers of the liner 
seemed to be fighting together. He looked again with 
fresh interest. No, they were holding some one back. 
As he watched, a figure tore itself free of the group and 
dashed across the boat-deck, thrusting forward an arm 
as it ran. Ther^ was a long spark of red, a little haze of 
smoke, a faint cracking like the distant spark of wireless, 
the minute splash of revolver bullets dropping into the 
sea as they fell short, like drops of rain. Schroeder 
swung about viciously, his jaw thrust forward, his blue 
eyes blazing. He looked toward the gun. 

" Send that bridge to hell," he roared. 

The knot of bluejackets about the nine-pounder sprang 
into action like mechanical toys. The gunnery lieutenant 
peered at the vessel through his binoculars. 



UNDERSEABOAT F.33 71 

" Three hundred and fifty yards/' he jerked. "Angle 
of twelve." 

The gunner braced himself to his lever. The group of 
bluejackets crouched as if about to run. A booming 
crash, like a single beat on a giant drum, rang out. A 
white fog of smoke floated along the submarine deck. 
Something red stabbed into the air for a moment. The 
bridge of the vessel exploded in a lick of yellow flame. 
Pieces of woodwork, bars of steel, dark masses like the 
bodies of men, flew into the air as though before a 
hurricane. A great silence seemed to come over the 
waters. 

" Nine minutes gone," the commander muttered. 

The first lieutenant made a megaphone of his hands. 

" Nine minutes gone," he bellowed. His voice struck 
the air with a clang of brass. 

Schroeder's face became like stone. The eyelids 
closed. His mouth tightened. He reached for the tele- 
phone at his feet. The air about the side of the liner 
became black with jumping bodies. The water along- 
side her was spotted with dark, bobbing spots. 

" Just like rats," said the first lieutenant. 

The commander raised the mouthpiece to his lips. 

" Fire one and two," he commanded. 

There was an ear-splitting scream from the com- 
pressed-air cylinders. The submarine jerked slightly 
twice, as though it had been struck violently. There was 
the hiss of escaping air. Schroeder bent forward and 
looked into the trough of the sea. Two indistinct 
lines of foam bubbles showed vaguely over the waves. 
The swimmers in the water frantically opened two 
lanes: 

" Fire three and four." the commander ordered. 

As he spoke a muffled crash rang out. A second came. 
Geysers of water jutted up at the bow and stern of the 
liner. They sprang into the air as though from a gigantic 
hose, and fell again in a hollow thud. The steamer keeled 
over suddenly, like a wounded man. It swung back 
sickeningly, listed and stayed there, its decks at an angle 
of forty. The swell of her lurch traveled across the 



72 WAR STORIES 

water like a tidal wave. The life-boat spun dangerously 
as it was lifted. 

The air-cartridges screamed again, and again a pair 
of slender foam streaks cut across the waves. 

" That'll finish her," said the chief officer. 

Some one on board the liner screamed in terror. 
Other voices took it up. The sound clove through the 
air in a high, agonized crescendo. It suggested to 
Schroeder people tearing their lung apart. 

" Just like pigs," said the first officer. 

" Shut up," Schroeder growled. " There she goes." 

The liner seemed to go up in the air in an immense 
pillar of white vapor and shattered wood. A crash like 
the discharge of heavy artillery vibrated across the water. 
She careened over, her stern high in the air, like a peak 
of rock sticking out of the waves. Metal, pieces of wood, 
water, stayed high for a moment and then began 
dropping. 

" Got her in the boilers," the first lieutenant nodded. 

The black stern of the steamer slipped into the waves 
as if some great hand had caught the vessel and was 
pulling her downward. The fan-like propeller showed 
for an instant like some grotesque sea-flower. It dis- 
appeared. There was a swirl of water, a patter of eddies 
and whirlpools, a seething of bubbles like soap-suds, a 
litter of wood chips, and then waves began forming again. 
Five hundred yards away from the submarine the first 
ship's boat pulled oif, filled to the rowlocks with huddled, 
white-faced figures. In the distance another boat 
paddled with a scant three. Between them a life-raft 
hove and dropped on the waves, with a half-dozen 
drenched wretches clinging to her. Here and there a 
solitary head bobbed in the water. 

The first lieutenant gazed soberly at the boats and the 
raft. 

" Phew," he whistled, " not many left." 

In the nearest boat a figure raised itself in the bow and 
shook clenched, impotent fists at the submarine, 
Schroeder looked at it a moment. 

" Rifleman Wolff," he called. 



UNDERSEABOAT F.33 73 

The sharpshooter stood at attention. 

" Get your piece and bring down that No. 

Don't mind." 

He looked at it a moment longer. 

" Bah ! Shark food ! " he muttered. He swung about. 

" Stow the gun." 

The nine-pounder disappeared into its pit. The shield 
closed to with a well-oiled click. 

" Full speed ahead." 

The cough of the gas-exhaust broke out. The deck 
vibrated. Foam curled at the bow. 

" Nor'east by north," he ordered. 

" Nor'east by north it is, sir," the quartermaster chimed. 

The boats aft became pin-points of white, became blurs, 
vanished. The blue sea rolled, and the sun flashed down 
on it and turned the crests of the waves to beaten silver. 
A gull dipped and spiraled overhead, and a breeze 
rambled southward, salt, fragrant, with a hint of pine 
forest. 

So for forty-eight hours they beat their way toward the 
eternal magnet of the North, their foamy wake lying long 
and straight behind like a plough-line, their periscopes 
standing tall and gallant like lances at a knight's knee. 
To starboard the green Norwegian coast lay in serrated 
ridges and in queer hidden bays and winding inlets. 
From the deck of the submarine, five miles away they 
could distinguish brown, slumbering villages and antique 
towns, and the delicate gray of corn ripening. Occa- 
sionally a coastwise vessel lumbered along, and when 
they saw one they dived discreetly. Here and there were 
the white patches of fishing- smacks. But no sign of the 
burly Russian vessels, nor of other contraband-carrying 
liners. 

" We may raise something out of Narvik," Schroeder 
said. " We'll He off the Lofodens and see." 

As he paced the steel deck, a furrow came into the 
commander's face and the hint of a shadow into his eyes. 
He looked at the green coast-lines beneath focussed lids, 
as a man looks at an enemy intent on his next move. 
He was a little worried. The country oppressed him. 



74 WAR STORIES 

It gave him the impression of a distinct, more than 
human, entity, who knew what he had done to it, and was 
biding its time. He found himself visualizing it as an im- 
mense viking, armed, clad in shining greaves and cuirass, 
imperturbable, implacable, with all the cold, white fury 
of Northern men. He could imagine it flaying him — he 
shook himself with an uneasy laugh, but the feeling would 
not go. 

As they drove onward, the sun went out of the sky, and 
clouds came up, black clouds, with the purple blackness 
of ink. A murky yellow spread over the water. A long, 
rising swell lifted in even rhythmical movements. From 
the distant shore the noise of surf reverberated like 
muffled drums. Four sea-gulls chased one another 
wearily landward. A northeaster came up and whipped 
spray from the tops of the waves like steam. 

The first lieutenant turned to his chief with a grave 
face. 

" Don't you think we'd better submerge, sir? " he sug- 
gested. " I don't like that nor'easter, and the tide's 
pulling like a rope. You know where we are." 

" We're off the Lofoden Islands." 

" Well, sir ! " 

"Well, what?" 

" There's a pretty dangerous current running here- 
about. The Maelstrom's five miles to leeward." 

Schroeder laughed. 

"The Maelstrom!" he chuckled. "For God's sake, 
have a bit of sense. Stop listening to fo'castle yarns. 
The Maelstrom! The Maelstrom!" 

The first lieutenant looked him square in the face. 
There was something queer in his eyes. 

" Look at the sea," he said. " Look at the wave-height. 
See how low it is. It ought to be thirty inches higher. 
Watch ! " 

He took a silver case from his pocket and threw a 
cigarette into the sea. It floated shoreward as if pulled 
by a string. 

" Nine miles an hour," remarked the first officer 
laconically. ** 






UNDERSEABOAT F-33 75 

" We'd better head her out to sea," Schroeder nodded. 

The coughing violence of the exhaust stopped for a 
moment, began spasmodically, and stopped again. An 
officer dashed up the manhole and sprang aft. He made 
his way through the swirl of water on the deck and 
peered over the stern. He straightened himself with a 
jerk. 

" Stop the engines ! " he shouted. 

The signal flashed down to the operating-room in a 
jingle of bells. The submarine rocked to the swell like 
a cradle. The commander hurried aft. 

"What's wrong?" he hailed. 
Propeller's foul," the officer at the stern snapped. 

Bring the cage. Jump into a diving suit, some 
one.' 

A gang of bluejackets ran aft with a scaffolding of 
steel mesh. A sailor in the grotesque bulk of a diver's 
costume lumbered over the side and disappeared in an 
eddy of bubbles. The first lieutenant paced up and down 
the deck, his hands clinched until the knuckles showed 
white against the brown of the skin. He touched the 
commander on the arm. 

" Better hurry," he advised. " Look ! " 

The waves had nearly died down. They showed only 
in faint, jagged ripples, like the patterns of snow on 
ploughed ground. The water seemed black and thick, 
like oil. A mile and a half away land bulked, like a 
shadow. There was the thunder of surf on rocks. Oc- 
casionally there was a booming report, like the firing of 
nine-pounders. 

The diver rose out of the waves, a horrible dripping 
monster. They unscrewed his head-piece hastily. 

"A big fisherman's net," he gasped, " around the pro- 
peller. All afoul." 

Schroeder turned and shouted forward. 

" Get a knife and hatchet," he ordered. 

The diver looked at him with a white, scared face. 

" I can't go down again," his voice became a hoarse 
whisper. "I can't do it. There's something pulling, 
sucking. ..." # 



76 WAR STORIES 

The commander looked at him with a cold, murderous 
eye. 

" You'll go down again," he said calmly. He raised his 
voice. " Hurry up with those tools." 

" I can't," the man whimpered. " Good God ! I can't." 

A white shroud of fog suddenly enveloped them. It 
converted them into towering, shadowy figures. The 
submarine spun suddenly in quarter its length, as if the 
helmsman had thrown over his wheel. They lurched 
about the deck for an instant. The thunder of the surf 
came nearer. The booming, artillery-like discharges 
crashed more distinctly. The first officer stamped his 
feet in impatience. He cracked his fingers. He whistled, 
as to a dog. 

The fog cleared like a stage-curtain lifting. Ahead of 
them an expanse of black water spread like a village 
pond. To the right and to the left, a mile away and 
apart, islands reared like huge rocks. In front of them, 
across the expanse, a dim mirage of land showed. As 
they looked, the water broke into a pattern of eddies. 
Lines formed, as on the surface of a harbor in a catspaw 
of wind. A vast throaty gurgle shivered through the 
air. The bottom seemed to break in the water. It curled 
about in a small, in a large, in a gigantic, funnel. Some- 
thing appeared on the edge of it, gray and brown. The 
submarine glided forward easily. The men on the deck 
had the impression of slipping along snow on skis. The 
gray-and-brown thing took form. They could see it was 
the battered hulk of a fishing-smack. It spun around in 
a flashing circle like a racing-car on a stadium track. 

The first officer looked at it with a twitching face. 

"All below," he shouted. His voice broke into a 
scream. 

They plunged toward the manhole in a frantic rush. 
Schroeder's hands shook as he lowered himself. The 
manhole came to with a clang. 

He picked his way toward the conning-tower with 
faltering feet. The alley tilted slightly under his feet. 
A feeling of dizziness was coming over him.. He be- 
came suddenly cold and his heart seemed reluctant to 



UNDERSEABOAT F.33 77 

beat. He clambered into the control-chamber. The 
deck tilted. He held on to the stanchions for support. 
The engineer lieutenant clawed his way forward. 

" Empty the air-tanks," Schroeder commanded. In the 
silence of the steel husk his voice sounded with horrible 
loudness. " We'll sink." 

There was a violent jerk, as though an explosion had 
occurred against the hulk of the submarine. She turned 
about suddenly, like a wheel. Schroeder felt his head 
strike the iron of the wall. He slid to the floor in a 
crumpled heap. 

" Open the other side, you fool," he shouted. Nobody 
answered. 

The submarine spun about like a teetotum. Schroeder 
felt himself being thrown here and there, like a limp sack. 
There was the crash of things falling everywhere, the 
rattle of earthenware, the tinkle of steel, the resounding 
clang of brass. The odor of oil floated sickeningly 
around. There was the acrid tang of acid. He felt his 
head knock against the wall again. A feeling of nausea 
came over him. 

He lay for a moment stunned, and, as he moved again, 
little visions, like queer, scrappy biograph pictures flashed 
in and out of his head. He saw the water about the 
Olaf Horsa black with bobbing heads. He saw the 
bridge of the steamer disappear in a yellow crash. He 
saw the man shaking clenched fists at him from the bow 
of the life-boat. 

" War," he muttered to himself. "After all, it's war, 
isn't it? It's war." 

Some one came hurtling down the alleyway, scream- 
ing as he ran. He tripped over Schroeder, picked him- 
self up again, and lurched away. His voice broke out 
in horrible, tearing spasms. Schroeder remembered 
vaguely having heard that sound somewhere before. It 
was the death-cry on the Norwegian liner. The memory 
struck him with the force of a blow. 

A little water trickled from somewhere and splashed on 
his face. It became a stream. It rippled metallically on 
the steel of the alley as though splashing into a zinc pail, 



78 WAR STORIES 

The thought that had been haunting him all day on 
his bridge flashed up in his mind with the blinding quality 
of a calcium light. Norway had him. Norway was 
taking its revenge. The mighty viking in flashing armor 
held him at its mercy. It was buffeting him, crushing 
him, throttling him with white, implacable fury. 

He put his hands to his collar and tore it open savagely, 
and, throwing his head back, he began howling, suddenly, 
loudly, insanely, like a trapped wolf. . . . 



*The Little Man in the Smoker 

And the Story That He Told to Another 

Man 

By James Francis Dwyer 

" Yes, sir, they have been preparing for this war for 
more than forty years." You, too, fellow citizens, have 
listened to this statement. You have heard it often. On 
this particular occasion the words, uttered in a loud voice, 
roused me from a doze and I sat up and looked around 
me at the four occupants of the Pullman smoking-room. 

I looked at the man who had made the remark which 
roused me. There was something in his voice that was 
not entirely pleasing. He had proclaimed the forty-year 
preparation in a voice that made me think he was a little 
wee bit proud of the Hun's foresight, a wee bit inclined 
to shout the news in the belief that it would act as a 
deterrent, as a courage cooler, to any one prepared to 
shoulder a rifle for civilization. 

He was a hearty, round-faced person, wearing a big 
mustache that had a slight tilt at the ends. I had a 
vicious desire to question him about his nationality. Per- 
haps I was wrong, but He repeated the words as 

if for my benefit: 

" That's right, gentlemen ; they've been preparing for 
this war for over forty years ! " 

Again the undemote, the curious threatening subtone, 
the " mind-what-you' re-doing " advice that was but dimly 
sensed and yet surely there. 

There was a small, undersized man wedged into a 
corner of the leather seat. 

* By permission The Ladies^ Home Journal and James Francis Dwyer. 
Copyright, 191 8, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

79 



8o WAR STORIES 

"And what have we been doing for forty years?" 
asked this little man. 

" You mean the United States ? " queried the fat person. 

" I mean my countiy, the United States of America," 
answered the small person. 

" Why you — that is, we've been doing nothing 1 " roared 
the big fellow. "Absolutely nothing ! We've sat still and 
let the others prepare. We've believed foolishly in peace, 
and now when war has come we're a helpless nation that 
doesn't know which way to turn." 

There was a silence for a few moments after the fat 
man made this assertion.. Then the little fellow in the 
corner drew out a silver watch, studied it carefully and, 
still looking at the watch, made an observation. 

" I've got twenty-five minutes before I reach my 
getting-off place," he said quietly. "And if no one has 
an objection to make I'd like to tell what my country, the 
United States, has done to prepare for war. That is, 
I'd like to tell of the things that have come under my own 
personal knowledge." 

The man with the stiff mustaches smiled. 

" Go ahead," he said in a manner that showed how 
utterly impossible he thought the task which the little 
fellow was attempting. " I'd like to hear what this coun- 
try has done to keep a strong foe, a strong foe like the 
Germans, from jumping her." 

The small man elbowed himself to the edge of the seat, 
glanced around him at his audience of four, and began 
speaking in a quiet voice that possessed a strange, sooth- 
ing quality. 

" I am a Swede," he said. " So is my wife. We came 
to New York in the year 1889. 

" I couldn't speak English, neither could my wife. It 
was a drawback. I had no trade. I was just a plain 
laboring man from Upsala, and when I was offered a 
position as janitor in an apartment house on Washington 
Heights, I jumped at the offer. The wage was twenty- 
five dollars a month, with the use of three rooms in the 
basement. 

" My oldest boy. Christian, was born in the basement 



« 



THE LITTLE MAN IN THE SMOKER 8i 

of that house on One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Street. 
So was my second boy, Sigurd, my youngest boy, Henrik, 
and my daughter, Hilda. All of them. One child a year 
was born to me during my first four years in the Uniied 
States. 

" When C3iristian was old enough to go to school, I 
took him round to Public School i86, on One Hvmdred 
and Forty-fifth Street. I saw the principal, a nice man. 
He took Christian and me into his office and he ques- 
tioned me. I could not speak Engfish very well, but it 
didn't matter. Not with him. 

* What do you do, Mr. Sigbold? ' he asked. 
I am a janitor,' I answered. 

" ' Well, Mr. Sigbold,' he said, * we will do the best for 
little Christian, and when your other children are big 
enough to come to school, we will look after them too.' 

" Gentlemen, that schoolmaster kept his word. My 
children were everything to me, and he had them in his 
keeping for nearly half of their waking time. That 
schoolmaster had them in his care all day, teaching them 
and molding their characters. 

" I learned to speak correct English from my son, 
Christian. He taught my wife and me. I learned from 
him of George Washington, of Abraham Lincoln, of 
Nathan Hale, of Grant, of a thousand others. He got it 
at the school, got it from the principal who didn't care 
whether I was a janitor or a barrister, and whose only 
duty was to teach boys to be good citizens. 

" They made my boy, Christian, flag bearer at the as- 
sembly exercises. Have any of you gentlemen witnessed 
those exercises? No? Well, the boy who is picked to 
carry the flag marches with it down the aisle, and the 
^yhole school stands and salutes it. And my boy, Chris- 
tian, became flag bearer. I went over one morning and 
saw him, and I cried. Afterward I got into one great 
big row because a woman on the first floor reported that 
there was no steam heat. 

" The landlord sent for me and asked me where I was 
and I told him. 

My boy was made flag bearer at the school,' I said. 



« ( 



82 WAR STORIES 

* and I went over to see him carry the Stars and Stripes 
at assembly. I got so hot and excited I forgot the steam 
heat/ 

" ' Well, don't forget again, Sigbold,' he said. * The 
tenants haven't got the luck to have sons who are picked 
as flag bearers, and they are cold.' 

" Christian graduated, gentlemen. He won a medal for 
history, my Christian, and I was there, there on the plat- 
form when it was presented to him. He brought it to 
me and his mother to look at, and the principal of that 
school saw us. He took me over and introduced me to 
a member of the Board of Education, me who was only 
a janitor and who had learned to speak proper English 
from my boy. Listen to me a little while and I will tell 
you what this country, this United States, has done to pre- 
pare for war ! 

" I cried that evening ! Yes, sir, I'm not ashamed to 
acknowledge it : I cried ! It was a gold medal presented 
by that commissioner that I had been introduced to, and 
my son had got it! My son. Christian! And I was a 
Swede, a laboring man from Upsala, who was working 
as a janitor! 

" Wait ! That commissioner wrote Christian to come 
and see him. Christian put on his best clothes and went 
down to his office in Cedar Street. 

" ' Whalt would you like to be ? ' he asked Christian. 
'A lawyer,' answered Christian. 
' Very good,' said the commissioner. * My brother 
will take you into his office. Take this note around to 
this address in Liberty Street and you can start right 
away.' 

" My boy. Christian Sigbold, earned last year over 
thirteen thousand dollars. He is a junior partner of the 
firm that he went to work for as an office boy on that 
day." 

The fat man with the big mustaches yawned and patted 
the stiff bristles with a huge, white palm. He seemed a 
little bored with the Swede's story ; but the Swede, after 
another glance at his watch, continued : 

" My second boy, Sigurd, also won a medal when he 






THE LITTLE MAN IN THE SMOKER 83 

graduated. He recited a poem — Paul Revere's Ride. It 
was wonderful to me. I did not know of Paul Revere 
till my boys told me about him. But, gentlemen, the night 
that Sigurd recited I sat there with little thrills racing up 
and down my spine. You see " 

The fat man grew impatient and interrupted with a 
wave of his big hand. " But all this has nothing to do 
with what I said," he remarked irritably. " I stated that 
this country has made no preparations for war. She has 
sat quietly believing in the fool doctrine of peace, and 
now she is not equal to the task of protecting herself 
against a strong foe." 

" Perhaps you think so because you like to think so ! " 
snapped Sigbold. " Wait till I finish and I'll tell you 
what she has done ! Wait." 

The big fat man subsided. There was something 
strange about the fierceness of the little fellow. I doubt 
if the other two listeners had the slightest idea of the 
dramatic climax that he had ready for his narrative. I 
know that I had no thought of what it would be. I, like 
the big man, believed that he was an overproud parent 
who was ready to seize any opportunity to tell of the 
success achieved by his children. 

" My boy, Sigurd, became a doctor, helped by that prin- 
cipal. He IS a specialist. He is young, but he is well 
known. I am his father and perhaps it is wrong for me 
to boast, but I might be pardoned for telling you that a 
special train took him from New York to Chicago a few 
months ago so that he could perform an operation on a 
millionaire's baby who was dying from diphtheria. 

" Henrik also became a flag bearer in that school. He 
loved it. Strong as a young bull he grew, and when he 
walked down the aisle carrying the silk flag you would 
think he was a young Crusader. He graduated ajid be- 
came an architect — Sigbold & Farrance is the firm, gen- 
tlemen. Mr. Farrance is my son-in-law ; he married my 
daughter, Hilda. His father is from Christiania and he 
was educated at the same school as my sons." 

The little man stopped, looked again at the silver watch, 
then got to his feet. The porter, armed with a whisk 



84 WAR STORIES 

broom, entered and, singling out the little man, led him 
to the door and started to brush him vigorously. I 
glanced at the other listeners and they, in turn, glanced at 
me. We were puzzled, the big fat man more than any 
of us. This amazement was so great that his lower jaw 
had dropped and a cavernous mouth showed beneath the 
Kaiser-like mustaches. 

The train was slowing up and the fat man pulled him- 
self together with an effort. " That's all very well," he 
cried ; " you've fooled us into listening to a little history 
of your children. What's that got to do with preparing 
for war ? " 

" Do you know what place this is ? " asked the little 
man quietly. 

*' No," answered the fat man. 

" Well, it's the nearest station to one of Uncle Sam's 
biggest camps ! " continued the little man quietly. "And 
I have three sons and a son-in-law in that camp, sir ! I 
told you my boy Christian was earning thirteen thou- 
sand dollars a year? He's here as a private on thirty 
a month. Sigurd, who had a blank check given to him 
by the millionaire whose baby he saved, is here in the 
medical corps, and the firm of Sigbold & Farrance is out 
of existence. Both of them are here, designing trenches 
instead of Queen Anne villas ! 

" The old United States has not been asleep during the 
last forty years, gentlemen. She has been preparing, but 
preparing in a different way from the Huns. Instead of 
stripping her children of their self-respect, she has buckled 
on them an armor of pride like that which she buckled on 
my boys, and all hell can't lick 'em! Do you hear me, 
gentlemen ? All hell can't lick 'em ! " 

• •••••• 

The porter brought the little chap's bag and he stepped 
into the passage with a farewell nod. The two other men 
and myself followed him to the car platform and watched 
him descend. Before he had climbed down the steps a 
husky quartet in khaki sprang at him, dragged him to the 
ground and carried him off bodily, howling and shrieking 
with delight as they tramped away. 



THE LITTLE MAN IN THE SMOKER 85 

" Gee," said one of the men standing at my elbow, 
" they're big soldiers ! I suppose they're the little fel- 
low's three sons and his son-in-law." 

" I suppose so," I said. " If that fat man could 
see 

The man who had commented on the size of the sol- 
diers gave my arm a warning touch and I stopped speak- 
ing. The mustached person, who in the beginning had 
loudly proclaimed the foresight of the Hun, was staring 
after the little fellow and his husky escorts with a look 
of puzzled wonder upon his face. 

The train began to move, and the three of us stood 
there in the vestibule, noticing a number of stalwart 
figures in khaki as we slid past the platform. 

" Well," I said — for the aggressiveness of the man had 
irritated me — " I guess there may be something in our 
friend's kind of preparedness, after all." 

He grunted, and as the porter closed down the steps 
he turned away into the car. Then, in an abrupt, harsh 
way he wheeled round and spoke to the attendant. 

"Is my bed made up?" he asked. "It is? Then I 
will go to bed at once. I feel very tired." 

The man who had touched my sleeve turned and 
winked at me. 
. It was enough to make a Prussian feel tired ! 



*« Squads Right" 

By Gilbert Emery 

A United States Training Camp for Reserve Officers 
is an excellent place for psychological study of character, 
as I dare say the Officer Instructors find — that is, if their 
gifts happen to lie in that line. And if the aim of those 
organizations were other than strictly military, interest- 
ing and diverting data might be copiously obtained there- 
from. There is a good bit of war rattling and clattering 
about their precincts, but there's not so much of the war. 
So something about them — I can't quite catch and label 
it — something about the men enlisted there, gives to the 
whole bellicose curriculum the quality of a game, a 
strenuous game, an amazing, wearisome, swashbuckling, 
roaring game, to be sure, but none the less a game. It's 
the absence of the enemy, no doubt, that so robs it of 
reality; that, and perhaps our national habit of making 
light of things generally. So the result is a loud, care- 
less, fairly Rabelaisian cheerfulness, and a spirit of irre- 
sponsible youth that, on the face of it, thumbs its nose 
at the vast problems of the Allies, forgets to hate the 
Germans, and concentrates only on an egoistic concep- 
tion, the which is, briefly, " What reward am I going to 
get out of all this back-and-leg-aching? " 

Now this attitude to the sober-minded middle-thirty'd 
aspirant is very disconcerting, at the outset, to encounter. 
And it needs all the elasticity which his medium can 
command to adapt himself to the conditions. Not in- 
frequently he comes a cropper, just because he fails to 
see that in the long run very likely this juvenile and what- 

* By permission of Everybody's and Gilbert Emery. Copyright, 19 1 8, 
by The Ridgway Company. 

86 



"SQUADS RIGHT'' 87 

the-hell-Bill nonchalance is by way of being a merciful 
interim given by the good Lord Himself; for the good 
Lord Himself knows it isn't going to last long, with them, 
" over there." 

Mr. Henry Stringer Hopkins was thus disconcerted, 
when he had offered himself to his country and had, after 
due preliminaries, found himself in a cotton " issue " uni- 
form, at once too tight and too loose, serving in the 
Second Camp as a candidate officer. And as his Maker 
had almost entirely — it would seem regrettably, omitted 
any form of elasticity in his make-up, Mr. Hopkins con- 
tinued to be disconcerted, and worse, as time went on. 
And that is just what I am going to speak about. 

I remember him very well, as he looked on the first day 
of the camp. We were hanging in a long line about the 
adjutant's office, all of us in a muddle of bravado, and 
bewilderment, and curiosity, and that Yankee careful- 
ness of being sure no one was " putting something over " 
on us. He was very hot and very red and fattish and 
fussy (he'd lost something or other), and horribly serious. 
I put him down as four-and- forty ; and it turned out he 
was two )'^ears older. Short, stocky, but softish in muscle ; 
dressed with a dull, mussed propriety ; earnest and plain ; 
and peering out on the new world through those great 
horn spectacles which so attract the weak-eyed these 
days. We stood together momentarily. 

" My name is Hopkins," he said, and gave me a most 
perspiring hand. " This is a pretty serious moment in 
a man's life, isn't it? An issue that involves life and 
death. A man should be proud to be able to be in it." 

It startled me a little. I confess I was thinking just 
then of when we'd get the next meal and what it would be 
like and how my uniform would fit me. The man next 
us by the railing was saying — and remarkably spitting — 
" This's a hell of a place, ain't it ? Why, when we was on 
the Border " 

" Why, yes, I guess so," I stammered. " How do you 
think we'll like it here?" 

" It doesn't matter at all how we like it," he responded 
solemnly. " I'm here to see this thing through to the 



88 WAR STORIES 

end. I want to fight for my country. Death itself I con- 
sider sgiall, to keep the world safe for democracy." 

Now, that is all very well to feel, and I make no doubt 
the bulk of us felt pretty much like Mr. Henry S. Hop- 
kins, but put into words, right there — well, it seemed, so 
to say, indelicate ; like talking of how you felt about God 
or the girl you love. I edged away embarrassedly. 

Little by little things fell into shape in the camp. We 
were sorted out and classified; uniformed and armed; 
and screwed down tight into that military regime which 
is no respecter of persons or prejudices or predispositions. 
We learned to know our instructors and they leawied to 
know us. We grew to recognize the bugle-calls and curse 
them all save " Come-and-get-it " — which means food. 
We got, each according to his lights, a point of view about 
the organization and aired it cockily. Intimacies sprang 
up among us; friendships; and dislikes, too. Squads 
were formed, and one was known, in general, by his 
squad number. In short, the system began to work. 
That anomalous bit of home, the only one a soldier in 
barracks knows, his cot-bed, acquired a personal and 
familiar quality; became a friendly habit for sleep or 
gossip or study. The popularity of a man's bunk offers 
a fairly good estimate of that man's popularity in the 
barracks — I mean during the few leisure moments the 
army concedes to its children. 

No one frequented Mr. Hopkins' bunk — " Pappy's " 
bunk. For we got to the nickname stage of intercourse 
without wasting much time ; and Hopkins was " Pappy " 
to the company. He didn't at all like to be called Pappy 
and he didn't like his comrades in arms " lolling," I be- 
lieve that was the word he used, on his tidy bed. He 
wanted to be addressed as Mr. Hopkins. *' I don't want 
to be too familiar with the rest of you, and I don't want 
you to be too familiar with me," he exploded to us one 
day irately. 

" Oh, Pappy ! O-o-oh, Pappy ! Naughty — naughty ! " 
was all he got, derisively. 

" Why do they kid me like this ? " he asked me, plain- 
tively, one day as we lay flat on our bellies in a pestilent, 



"SQUADS RIGHT '* 89 

swampy spot, pretending to be an outpost, or something 
of the sort. 

" Everybody kids everybody here," I replied evasively 
and a little crossly. The damp had got through my shirt. 

" There are a lot of damn fools who kid," said Mr. 
Hopkins darkly, " and by kidding they stamp themselves 
as such. It is bad taste." He took off his hat and 
wiped his bald spot vindictively. " They may sing a 
different song when the commissions are given out." 

I looked at him furtively in the raw light of early 
morning. I observed that he had lost much of his fleshy 
contour; his face was haggard, his eye harassed. He 
had the look of a man who was taking things terribly 
hard, both physically and mentally. 

"A certain amount of kidding is good for a man," I 
hazarded. 

" Not for me," said Mr. Hopkins grimly, and wriggled 
away into a wetter position. 

The chief baiter of Pappy was a complacent young 
man named Frawley, of his squad. Frawley had had 
considerable training in military affairs before coming to 
the camp. As a matter of fact, he was very good' at it, 
and if he hadn't been a spoiled brat with as little tact as 
any man was ever given to face life with, the company 
would have respected him. He belonged to that bully- 
ing class of human beings who give orders but who will 
not obey them. It was his custom during the infantry 
drill to heckle Mr. Hopkins in low, contemptuous tones. 
It was unfortunately true that Pappy with fatal con- 
sistency got everything wrong. Frawley rejoiced in this. 
Indeed, it seemed, as time went on, that Hopkins couldn't 
master the metier. It eluded and provoked and be- 
wildered him. It pursued hotly; the sweat — Lord bless 
him, how the sweat gushed from him! His face got 
apoplectic. He made indomitable efforts — and went 
wrong. 

There was the day, for instance, when he had charge 
of the company for a short period of try-out and ended 
by marching us hell-for-leather, double time, across the 
parade-ground into a ditch and against a five- foot stone 



90 WAR STORIES 

wall, bellowing at the top of his lungs, " Squads right ! 
Squads right ! For the third and last time I ask you to 
do squads right ! " 

Our captain, who was by no means a profane person, 
cursed as picturesquely and entertainingly as a good many 
years in various army posts and a sweet sense of the 
ridiculous had gifted him with. Tm not permitted to 
quote him here, but it was very funny. It ended with 
" God forgive you, Mr. Hopkins, and come out of that! " 

Hopkins left us struggling at the impasse and saluted. 
" Sir," he cried passionately, " they refuse to obey me ! 
They rebelled ! I've given them * Squads right ' half- 
way across the drill ground. And they won't." 

We saw the captain turn his back. He made as if to 
blow his nose; his shoulder heaved. When he faced 
about he was very bland ; there was a twinkle in his eye. 

" You omitted the command of execution, Mr. Hop- 
kins. There was no rebellion. Mr. Frawley, take charge 
of the company and remove it to a more edifying spot." 

Poor olci Pappy shouldered his gun and trudged along 
bitterly in the ranks. We kidded him, I'm afraid, heart- 
lessly' because such an organization as ours is heartless — 
light-heartless, you might say. Heartless, but good- 
natured. No one, I think, put anything into it except 
fun, no one but a great raw cub named Witherspoon with 
a bulging forehead, fish eyes, and a pasty face. He 
snickered with the futile malice of a child, loud enough 
for Hopkins to hear : " Damned old man ! Why do they 
have old men here like that? He's too old to learn any- 
thing." And some one prodded the speaker with a 
bayonet. 

It's hardly necessary to say, is it? that Mr. Hopkins 
from that hour till the day we saw him last was known 
as " Squad^ Right." He'd had an indescribable way of 
shouting these words, with an amazing and terrifying 
movement of the mouth. I can give no notion of the* 
sound save to suggest that it rather resembled the noise 
inadvertently emitted by a person hit unexpectedly in the 
pit of the stomach. 

The system screwed tighter and tighter as the weeks 



"SQUADS RIGHT" 91 

wore on. The physical strain was pretty hard for us 
all ; and mental worry had a fair part, too, in it all. No 
one thought very much or cared very much what was 
going to happen to his neighbor. His mind was des- 
perately on his own case, and devil take the hindermost. 
It needed all the gaiety and good humor a man and his 
friends could muster to keep a decently serene front. 
Just so, no one gave a second thought to old " Squads 
Right," to a little wonder whether he was " all in " or 
lonely and low in his soul. He went to and fro aboiit 
his business, his clothes put on all askew, his mouth grim 
and his eye distraught — doing it all just the way it 
shouldn't be done. And we watched him and laughed. 
We'd grown so used to his nightly remarks in the squad 
room after taps that we had ceased to jeer — all of us 
except Frawley. " If you fellows were officers and 
gentlemen, you'd stop talking and let a fellow sleep." 

It is astonishing how horribly alone a man can live 
in a crowd. 

If any one spoke of Hopkins at all, it was with a care- 
less — " Oh, he won't last long, poor old nut." And it 
began to look that way. He was at the tail of every 
hike, puffing and straining fearsomely. He drew his 
maps in startling but untrustworthy designs. He muddled 
the commands. He fell over the hurdles on the bayonet 
run and nearly stabbed himself and his neighbors. He 
got lumbago digging trenches. And he had a score of 
forty out of a possible two hundred and fifty on the rifle- 
range. No, it was evident old Squads Right wouldn't 
do. And nobody cared — not a soul in the camp. 

One afternoon it all ended. We were cleaning up for 
retreat — faces and boots and guns. The top-sergeant 
bawled through the room : " Mr. Hopkins to report to the 
captain at once/' 

Squads Right clumped out grimly. 

" He's got his," giggled the Witherspoon boy, re- 
pulsively. " I heard 'em talkin' last night in the officers' 
room." 

Later, in the street, as the company stood at rest wait- 
ing for the colors to come up, a donkey trotted by. 



92 WAR STORIES 

Frawley said stupidly : " There goes Squads Right/* It 
was so stupid that only one or two of the weakest-minded 
laughed. Hopkins looked steadily ahead. We came to 
attention the next moment and marched off. 

When we were back again in the barracks an hour later 
I. saw Squads Right come up to Frawley, as he stood by 
his bunk, say a word or two tensely and th^n without 
any more parley strike him calmly and majestically 
straight on the nose. Frawley went down with a thud 
between the bunks, got up and thrust out blindly and 
bloodily with a good deal of " let-me-at-'im." We gath- 
ered around and separated the combatants. That sort 
of thing couldn't be allowed in barracks between candi- 
date officers. Little Fitch confided afterward to me — 
" Fraw didn't struggle half so hard to get at him as he 
could have. I held him." 

Sellers cocked his head and remarked in his whimsical 
fashion — " Perfect — quite perfect, by Jove ! " 

And just because a crowd is always a crowd and can 
be banked on for any extraordinary weathercock turning 
at the most unexpected moments, old Squads Right had 
us with him almost to a man — the whole company. It 
seemed high justice from heaven meted out to Frawley. 
We had all suffered at his hands and we all felt a pro- 
found satisfaction to see the job done. Squads was a 
hero. We patted him on the back while Frawley was 
out mopping off his nose. 

"Good boy!" 

"Anything you want in the company is yours." 

" Hurray for old Squads ! " etc., ad lib. 

But that by no means is the point of this account : how 
Squads thus easily became our hero. Something hap- 
pened then which lifted him out of the prize-ring and put 
him into another class, one nobler and finer, it seems to 
me, than we ourselves, the rest of us, may ever get into. 

Mr. Hopkins stood impressively by the scene of com- 
bat. He was very self-possessed. His eyes wandered 
wearily over our faces and on beyond to the rows and 
rows of bunks and their festoons of equipment. Little 
by little our laughter and joking faded out. We eyed 



"SQUADS RIGHT" 93 

Squads questioningly, as if he were about to speak to us — 
say something unusual. He did. 

" Mr. Frawley got what he deserved," he said, by way 
of casual explanation. " He is a very rude young man. 
That is of no consequence." He paused a moment and 
his eyes mellowed pathetically. " I wish I had not hit 
him," he went on laboriously. " Not ' because I regret 
.the blow, but — well — well — because for the first time 
since I've been in this camp, you fellows have — ^patted me 
on the back. Fm a cross-grained old chap. It's my 
fault. I don't blame any one but myself. Only you 
see — they've canned me. To-day. And just your say- 
ing * Good for you ' " I think he tried to say 

" Squads Right," but couldn't wrench it out — "er — * Hop- 
kins,' makes it harder to go." 

We were all very silent — shamefaced — and uneasy. 

" I ought to go. I'm no good. I don't kick. But, 
men, I hate to go. You don't know what it means to me, 
this. I want to tell you. Just to make it a little clearer." 
He became, somehow, just then, the leader of the lot. I 
can't quite say why. Something in his face, his voice. 

" I've got two boys — just under the draft age. I've 
sacrificed a good deal for them — for education and all 
that. And when this thing came — this war — they've got 
Revolutionary blood in them, too — I waited for them to 
come up and say, ' Father, we're going ! ' And I waited — 
and waited. They didn't speak. I tell you I'll never 
have to bear a thing so hard again. And then I spoke. 
I asked them : ' What are you going to do ? ' And they 
couldn't answer. My boys ! My own boys ! And they 
took refuge with their mother — think of it! She pro- 
tected them. Told them they needn't go. That it would 
break her heart. And — and — they let her persuade them. 
My boys! *Well,' I said, * if you won't fight, you'll 
work, damn you ! ' And I've ceased tg do a thing more 
for them. This war — why, it means everything to me. 
I'd give — " his voice broke painfully. I detected tears 
in the eyes of little Fitch — *' I'd give anything to — I 
said, * By God, then I'll go ! ' I left my business — a 
good one — and came down here to learn how to fight. It 



94 WAR STORIES 

seemed to me I had to. And — well, you've seen me. 
I'm too old. Too clumsy. Too thick-headed. And yet, 
IVe got a fighting heart that will lick the lot of you. 
Now Fm canned — I've told this — I wanted you to know 
that — inside I'm not so rotten as I seem outside — ^gentle- 
men. Fight! For God's sake, "fight! And fight for 
me, too ! " 

Mr. Hopkins ceased and with a gasp recalled himself 
to the situation. I think he was dreadfully dismayed over 
what he had done. At any rate, he pulled himself to- 
gether with a great effort and said primly: "Gentlemen, 
I'm glad to have made your acquaintance. I wish you all 
good-bye. I'm going to try to get a job driving an 
ambulance over there. Good-evening." 

Harkson, who has the biggest heart in the world, got 
his hand first. And then every man of us filed by and 
gave him a grip that had in it a little of what our hearts 
were full of. The last of us was Frawley — with a 
swelled nose and bruised lip. 

" God bless you, Mr. Hopkins ! Some of us may meet 
you over there — in your ambulance. Shall you mind if 
we call you Squads Right, then, when you shove us in ? " 



*One Hundred Per Cent 

By Edna Ferber 

They had always had two morning papers — he his, she 
hers. The Times. Both. Nothing could illustrate more 
clearly the plan on which Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Buck con- 
ducted their married life. Theirs was the morning calm 
and harmony which comes to two people who are free to 
digest breakfast and the First Page simultaneously with 
no — " Just let me see the inside sheet, will you, dear ? " 
to mar the day's beginning. 

In the days when she had been Mrs. Emma McChesney, 
traveling saleswoman for the T. A. Buck Featherloom 
Petticoat Company, New York, her perusal of the morn- 
ing's news had been, perforce, a hasty process, accom- 
plished between trains, or in a small- town hotel 'bus, 
jolting its way to the depot for the 7:52; or over an 
Arnerican plan breakfast throughout which seven-eighths 
of her mind was intent on the purchasing possibilities of 
a prospective nine o'clock skirt buyer. There was no 
need now of haste, but the habit of years still clung. 
From eight- thirty to eight thirty-five a. m. Emma Mc- 
Chesney Buck was always in partial eclipse behind the 
billowing pages of her newspaper. Only the tip of her 
topmost coil of bright hair was visible. She read swiftly, 
darting from war news to health hints, from stock market 
to sport page, and finding something of interest in each. 
For her there was nothing cryptic in a head-line such as 
" Rudie Slams One Home " ; and Do pf d followed by 
dotted lines and vulgar fractions were to her as easily 
translated as the Daily Hint From Paris. Hers was the 

* By permission of Metropolitan and Edna Ferber. Copyright, 1918, 
by The Metropolitan 'Magazine Co. 

95 



96 WAR STORIES 

photographic eye and the alert brain that can film a col- 
umn or a page at a glance. 

Across the table her husband sat turned slightly side- 
wise in his chair, his paper folded in a tidy oblong. He 
read down one column, top of the next and down that, 
seriously and methodically; giving to toast or coffee-cup 
the single-handed and groping attention of one whose 
interest is elsewhere. The light from the big bay win- 
dow fell on the printed page and cameoed his profile. 
After three yeiars of daily contact with it, Emma still 
caught herself occasionally gazing with appreciation at 
that clear-cut profile and the clean, shining line of his 
hair as it grew away from the temple. 

" T. A.," she had announced one morning, to his 
mystification, "you're the Francis X. Bushman of the 
breakfast table. I believe you sit that way purposely." 

"Francis X ?" He was not a follower of the 

films. 

Emma elucidated. " Discoverer and world's champion 
exponent of the side face." 

" I might punish you, Emma, by making a pun about 
its all being Greek to me, but I shan't." He returned 
to Page Two, Column Four. 

Usually their conversation was comfortably monosyl- 
labic and disjointed, as is the breakfast talk of two people 
who understand each other. Amicable silence was the 
rule, broken only by the rustle of paper, the clink of 
china, an occasional, " Toast, dear ? " And when Buck, 
in a low, vibrating tone (slightly muffled by buttered com 
muffin) said, " Dogs ! " Emma knew he was perusing the 
daily schrecklichkeit. 

Upon this cozy scene Conservation cast his gaunt 
shadow. It was in June, the year of America's Great 
Step, that Emma, examining her household, pronounced 
it fattily degenerate, with complications, and performed 
upon it a severe and skilful surgical operation. Among 
the rest: 

" One morning paper ought to be enough for any hus- 
band and wife who aren't living on a Boffin basis. 
There'll be one copy of the Times delivered at this house 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 97 

in the future, Mr. Buck. We might match pennies for 
it, mornings." 

It lay there on the hall table that first morning, an 
irinocent oblong, its head-lines staring up at them with 
inky eyes. 

" Paper, T. A.," she said, and handed it to him. 

" You take it, dear." 

"Oh, no! No." 

She poured the coffee, trying to keep her gaze away 
from the tantalizing tail-end of the head-line at whose 
first half she could only guess. 

" By Jove, Emma ! Listen to this ! Pershing says 
that if we have one m " 



" Stop right there ! We've become pretty well ac- 
quainted in the last three years, T. A. But if you haven't 
learned that if there's one thing I can't endure, it's being 
fed across the table with scraps of the day's news, I 
shall have to consider our marriage a failure." 

" Oh, very well. I merely thought you'd be " 

" I am. But there's something about having it read to 
you " 

On the second morning Emma, hurriedly fastening the 
middle button of her blouse on her way down-stairs, 
collided with her husband, who was shrugging himself 
into his coat. They continued their way down-stairs with 
considerable dignity and pronounced leisure. The paper 
lay on the hall table. They reached for it. There was a 
moment — just the fraction of a minute — when each 
clutched a comer of it, eyeing the other grimly. Then 
both let go suddenly, as though the paper had burned 
their fingers. They stared at each other, surprise and 
horror in their gaze. Ttie paper fell to the floor with a 
little slap. Both stooped for it, apologetically. Their 
heads bumped. They staggered back, semi-stunned. 

Emma found herself laughing, rather wildly. Buck 
joined in after a moment — a rueful laugh. She was the 
first to recover. 

" That settles it. I'm willing to eat trick bread and 
whale meat and drink sugarless coffee, but I draw the line 
at hating my husband for the price of a newspaper sub- 



98 WAR STORIES 

scription. White paper may be scarce, but so are hus- 
bands. It's cheaper to get two newspapers than to set 
up two establishments." 

They were only two among many millions who, at that 
time, were playing an amusing and fashionable game 
called Win the War. They did not realize that the game 
was to develop into a grim and magnificently functioning 
business to whose demands they would cheerfully sacri- 
fice all that they most treasured. 

Of late, Emma had spent less and less time in the 
offices of the Featherloom Company. For over ten years 
that flourishing business, and the career of her son, Jock 
McChesney, had been the twin orbits about which her 
existence had revolved. But Jock McChesney was a man 
of family now, with a wife, two babies, and an uncanny 
advertising sense that threatened to put his name on the 
letter-head of the Raynor Advertising Company of 
Chicago. As for the Featherloom factory — it seemed 
to go of its own momentum. After her marriage to the 
firm's head, Emma's interest in the business was un- 
flagging. 

" Now look here, Emma," Buck would say. " You've 
given enough to this firm. Play a while. Cut up. For- 
get you're Sie 'And Company ' in T. A. Buck & Co." 

" But 'I'm so used to it. I'd miss it so. You know 
what happened that first year of our marriage when I 
tried to do the duchess. I don't know how to loll. If 
you take Featherlooms away from me, I'll degenerate 
into a Madam Chairman. You'll see." 

She might have, too, if the War had not come along 
and saved her. Still, she had consented not to go down 
to the office at 9 : 30 every morning with her husband. 
She spent only two or three hours daily in the offices and 
the big, bright showrooms and workrooms. And if you 
happened into the old brownstone house on East Sixty- 
third at five o'clock or thereabouts, you were very likely 
to hear the tinkle of teacups. 

By midsummer the workrooms were turning out not 
only the accustomed grist of petticoats, but strange gar- 
ments, such as gray and khaki flannel shirts, flannelette 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 99 

one-piece pajamas, and woolen bloomers, all intended for 
the needs of women war workers going abroad. Emma 
had been responsible for the success of two of these 
Featherloom products. The one-piece pa jama was a God- 
send to the women overseas working in the mist-haunted, 
damp-laden, heatless villages of France and Flanders. 
And a seemingly trivial item — the tailored, neck-fitting 
collar — made the Featherloom service shirt for women 
the standard for war workers. 

Emma had dropped into the workroom one day and 
had picked up a half-finished gray flannel garment. 
She eyed it critically, her deft fingers manipulating 
the neck-band. A little frown gathered between her 
eyes. 

" Somehow a woman in a flannel shirt always looks as 
if she had quinsy. It's the collar. They cut them like 
a man's small-size. But a woman's neck is as different 
from a man's as her collar-bone is." 

She picked up a piece of flannel and smoothed it on the 
cutting-table. The head designer had looked on in dis- 
approval while her employer's wife had experimented 
with scraps of cloth, and pins, and chalk and scissors. 
She had her opinion of meddlesome matrons in Fifth 
Avenue hats and suits who upset the shop and tried to 
teach an experienced designer her business. But Emma 
had gone on serenely cutting and snipping and pinning. 
They made up samples of service shirts with the new 
neck-hugging collar and submitted them to Miss Nevins, 
the head of the woman's uniform department at Fyfe & 
Gordon's. That astute lady had been obliged to listen 
to scores of canteeners, nurses, secretaries and motor 
leaguers who, standing before a long mirror in one of 
the many fitting-rooms, had gazed, frowned, fumbled at 
collar and topmost button, and said, " But it looks so — so 
lumpy around the neck." 

Miss Kate Nevins, diplomat and department head (the 
terms are dependent one on the other), always came in 
for a final fitting. Her reply to this plaint was : " Oh, 
when you get your tie on " 

But the overseas worker, gloomily regarding the image 



loo WAR STORIES 

in the mirror, felt her patriotism oozing. Then brightly : 
" Perhaps they'll let me wear a turn-down collar." 

Miss Nevins would shake her head. "Absolutely 
against regulations. The rules strictly forbid anything 
but the high, close-fitting collar." 

The fair war worker would sigh, mutter something 
about supposing they'd shoot you at sunrise for wearing 
a becoming shirt, and order six, grumbling. Fyfe & 
Gordon's had the official sanction of the government. 
They were the court of last resort. If you couldn't get 
it at the great outfitting establishment on Madison Ave- 
nue, New York could not produce it. 

Kate Nevins had known Mrs. T. A. Buck in that lady's 
Emma McChesney days. At the end of the first day's 
trial of the new Featherloom shirt she had telephoned the 
Featherloom factory and had asked for Emma McChes- 
ney. People who had known her by that name never 
seemed able to get the trick of calling her by any 
other. 

With every fitting-room in the Fyfe & Gordon estab- 
lishment demanding her attention. Miss Nevins' conver- 
sation was necessarily brief. 

"Emma McChesney? . . . Kate Nevins. . . . 
Who's responsible for the collar on those Featherloom 
shirts ? . . . I was sure of it. . . . No regular de- 
signer could cut a collar like that. Takes a genius. . . . 
H'm? . . . Well, I mean it. I'm going to write to 
Washington and have 'em vote you a distinguished service 
medal. This is the first day since last I-don't-know-when 
that hasn't found me in the last stages of nervous exhaus- 
tion at six o'clock. . . . All these women warriors 
are willing to bleed and die for their country, but they 
want to do it in a collar that fits, and I don't blame 'em. 
After I saw the pictures of that Russian Battalion of 
Death, I understood why. . . . Yes, I know I oughtn't 
to say that, but . . .'* 

By autumn Emma was wearing one of those Feather- 
loom service shirts herself. It was inevitable that a 
woman of her executive ability, initiative and detail sense 
should be pressed into active service. November saw 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT loi 

Fifth Avenue a-glitter with uniforms, and one-third of 
them seemed to be petticoated. The Featherloom factory 
saw Httle of Emma now. She bore the title of Com- 
mandant, with feminine captains, Ueutenants and girl 
workers under her; and her blue uniform, as she herself 
put it, was so a- jingle with straps, buckles, belts, bars and 
bolts that when she first put it on she felt dressed up- like 
a jail. 

She left the house at eight in the morning now. Dinner 
time rarely found her back in Sixty-third Street. Buck 
was devoting four evenings a week to the draft board. 
At the time of the second Liberty Loan drive in the 
autumn he had deserted Featherlooms for bonds. His 
success was due to the commodity he had for sale, the 
type of person to whom he sold it, and his own selling 
methods and personality. There was something about 
this slim, leisurely man, with the handsome eyes and the 
quiet voice, that convinced and impressed you. 

" It's your complete lack of eagerness in the trans- 
action, too," Emma remarked after watching him land 
a twenty-five-thousand-dollar bond pledge, the buyer a 
business rival of the Featherloom Petticoat Company. 
" You make it seem a privilege, not a favor. A man 
with your method could sell sand-bags in the Sahara." 

Sometimes the two dined down-town together. Some- 
times they scarcely saw each other for days on end. 
One afternoon at 5 : 30, Emma, on duty bound, espied 
him walking home up Fifth Avenue, on the opposite side 
of the street. She felt a little pang as she watched the 
easy, graceful figure swinging its way up the brilliant, 
flag-decked street. She had given him so little time and 
thought ; she had bestowed upon the house such scant at- 
tention in the last few weeks. She turned abruptly and 
crossed the street, dodging the late afternoon traffic with 
a sort of expert recklessness. She almost ran after the 
tall figure that was now a block ahead of her, and walk- 
ing fast. She caught up with him, matched his stride, 
and touched his arm lightly. 

" I beg your pardon, but aren't you Mr. T. A. Buck ? " 

His eyes danced, but he bowed gravely. " Yes." 



I02 WAR STORIES 

She extended her hand. " How do you do ! I'm Mrs. 
Buck." 

Then they had giggled together deliciously, and he had 
put a firm hand on the smartly tailored blue serge sleeve. 

" I thought so. That being the case, you're coming 
home along o' me, young 'ooman." 

" Can't do it. Fm on my way to the Ritz to meet a 
dashing delegation from Serbia. You never saw such 
gorgeous creatures. All gold and green and red, with 
swords, and snake-work and glittering boots. They'd 
make a musical-comedy soldier look like an undertaker." 

There came a queer little look into his eyes. " But 

this isn't a musical comedy, dear. These men are 

Look here, Emma. I want to talk to you. Let's walk 
home together and have dinner decently in our own 
dining-room. There are things at the office " 

** S'impossible, Mr. Buck. I'm late now. And you 
know perfectly well there are two vice-commandants 
ready to snatch my shoulder-straps." 

" Emma ! Emma ! " 

At his tone the smiling animation of her face was 
dimmed. "What's gone wrong?" 

" Nothing. Everything. At least, nothing that I can 
discuss with you at the comer of Fifth Avenue and 
Forty-fifth Street. When does this Serbian thing end? 
I'll call for you." 

" There's no telling. Anyway, the Fannings will drive 
me home, thanks, dear." 

He looked down at her. She was unbelievably girlish 
and distingue in the blue uniform ; a straight, slim figure, 
topped by an impudent cocked hat. The flannel shirt of 
workaday service was replaced to-day by a severely smart 
affair of white silk; high-collared, stitched, expensively 
simple. And yet he frowned as he looked. 

" Fisk got his exemption papers to-day." With ap- 
parent irrelevance. 

" Yes ? " She was glancing sharply up and down the 
thronged street. *' Better call me a cab, dear. I'm 
awfully late. Oh, well, with his wife practically an in- 
valid, and all the expense of the baby's illness, and the 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 103 

funeral The Ritz, dear. And tell him to hurry." 

She stepped into the cab, a little nervous frown between 
her eyes. 

But Buck, standing at the curb, seemed bent on delay- 
ing her. " Fisk told me the doctor said all she needs is a 
couple of months" at a sanitarium, where she can be 
bathed and massaged and fed with milk. And if Fisk 
could go to a camp now he'd have a commission in no 
time. He's had training, you know. He spent his vaca- 
tion last summer at Plattsburg." 

" But he's due on his advance spring trip in two or 
three weeks, isn't he? ... I really must hurry, 
T. A." 

"Ritz," said Buck, shortly, to the chauffeur. "And 
hurry." He turned away abruptly, without a backward 
glance. Emma's head jerked over her shoulder in sur- 
prise. But he did not turn. The tall figure disappeared. 
Emma's taxi crep*t into the stream. But uppermost in 
her mind was not the thought of Serbians, uniforms, 
Fisk, or Ritz, but of her husband's right hand, which, as 
he turned away from the cab, had been folded tight into 
a fist. 

She meant to ask an explanation of the clenched 
fingers; but the Serbians, despite their four tragic years, 
turned out to be as sprightly as their uniforms, and it 
was past midnight when the Fannings dropped her at her 
door. Her husband was rather ostentatiously asleep. 
As she doffed her warlike garments, her feminine canni- 
ness warned her that this was no time for explanations. 
To-morrow morning would be better. 

But next morning's breakfast turned out to be all 
Jock. 

A letter from Grace, his wife. Grace McChesney had 
been Grace Gait, one of the youngest and cleverest 
women advertising writers in the profession. When 
Jock was a cub in the Raynor office she had been turning 
—out compelling copy. They had been married four years. 
Now Jock ruled a mahogany domain of his own in the 
Raynor suite overlooking the lake, in the great Michigan 
Avenue building. And Grace was saying, " Eat the crust, 



I04 WAR STORIES 



girlie. It's the crust that makes your hair grow 
curly." 

Emma, uniformed for work, read hasty extracts from 
Grace's letter. Buck listened in silence. 

" You wouldn't know Jock. He's restless, irritable, 
moody. And the queer part of it is he doesn't know it. 
He tries to be cheerful, and I could weep to see him. He 
has tried to cover it up with every kind of war work from 
Red Crossing to Liberty Loaning, and from writing free 
full-page national advertising copy to giving up his to- 
bacco money to the smoke fund. And he's miserable. 
He wants to get into it. And he ought. But you know 
I haven't been really husky since Buddy came. Not ill, 
but the doctor says it will be another six months before 
I'm myself, really. If I had only myself to think of — 
how simple! But two kiddies need such a lot of things. 
I could get a job at Raynor's. They need writers. Jock 
says, bitterly, that all the worth-while men have left. 
Don't think I'm complaining. I'm just trying to see my 
way clear, and talking to some one who understands often 
clears the way." 

" Well ! " said Emma. 

And, " Well ? " said T. A. 

She sat fingering the letter, her breakfast cooling before 
her. " Of course, Jock wants to get into it. I wish he 
could. I'd be so proud of him. He'd be beautiful in 
khaki. But there's work to do right here. And he ought 
to be willing to wait six months." 

" They can't wait six months over there, Emma. They 
need him now." 

" Oh, come, T. A. ! One man " 

" Multiplied by a million. Look at Fisk. Just such 
another case. Look at " 

The shrill summons of the telephone cut him short. 
Emma's head came up alertly. She glanced at her wrist- 
watch and gave a little exclamation of horror. 

" That's for me ! I'm half an hour late ! The first 
time, too." She was at the telephone a second later, ex- 
planatory, apologetic. Then back in the dining-room 
doorway, her cheeks flushed, tugging at her gloves, poised 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 105 

for flight. " Sorry, dear. But this morning was so im- 
portant, and that letter about Jock upset me. I'm afraid 
I'm a rotten soldier." 

" Fm afraid you are, Emma." 

She stared at that. "Why ! Oh, you're still 

angry at something. Listen, dear — I'll call for you at the 
office to-night at five, and we'll walk home together. 
Wait for me. I may be a few minutes late " 

She was off. The front door slammed sharply. Buck 
sat very still for a long minute, staring down at the coffee- 
cup, whose contents he did not mean to drink. The light 
from the window cameoed his fine profile. And you saw 
that his jaw was set. His mind was a thousand miles 
away, in Chicago, Illinois, with the boy who wanted to 
fight and couldn't. 

Emma, flashing down Fifth Avenue as fast as wheels 
and traffic rules would permit, saw nothing of the splen- 
did street. Her mind was a thousand miles away, in 
Chicago, Illinois. 

And a thousand miles away, in Chicago, Illinois, Jock 
McChesney, three hours later, was slamming down the 
two big windows of his office. From up the street came 
the sound of a bugle and of a band playing a brisk march. 
And his office windows looked out upon Michigan Ave- 
nue. If you know Chicago, you know the building that 
housed the Ray nor offices — a great gray shaft, towering 
even above its giant neighbors, its head in the clouds, 
its face set toward the blue beauty of Lake Michigan. 
Until very recently those windows of his office had been 
a source of joy and inspiration to Jock McChesney. The 
green of Grant Park just below. The tangle of I. C. 
tracks beyond that, and the great, gracious lake beyond 
that, as far as the eye could see. He had seen the changes 
the year had brought. The lake dotted with sinister gray 
craft. Dog tents in Grant Park, sprung up over-night 
like brown mushrooms. Men — mere boys, most of 
thcjm — awkward in their workaday clothes of office and 
shop, drilling, wheeling, marching at the noon hour. And 
parades, and parades, and parades. At first Jock, and, 
in fact, the entire office staff — heads of departments, 



io6 WAR STORIES 

writers, secretaries, stenographers, office boys — would 
'suspend business and crowd to the windows to see the 
pageant pass in the street below. Stirring music, khaki 
columns, flags, pennants, horses, bugles. And always 
the Jackie band from the Great Lakes Station, its white 
leggings twinkling down the street in the lead of its six- 
foot-six contortionistic drum-major. 

By October the window-gazers, watching the parades 
from the Raynor windows, were mostly petticoated and 
exclamatory. Jock stayed away from the window now. 
It seemed to his tortured mind that there was a fresh 
parade hourly, and that bugles and bands sounded a 
taunting note. 

" Where are you! (sounded the bugle) ? 
Where are you? 
Where are YOU? ! ! ! 
Where 
are 

you. 
Where — are — you-u-u-u " 



He slammed down the windows, summoned a stenog- 
rapher, and gave out dictation in a loud, rasping voice. 

" Yours of the tenth at hand, and contents noted. In 
reply I wish to say " 

(Boom! Boom! And a boom-boom-boom!) 

" all copy for the Sans Scent Soap is now ready 

for your approval and will be mailed to you to-day under 
separate cover. We in the office think that this copy 
marks a new record in soap advertising " 

(Over there! Over there! Send the word, send the 
word over there!) 

" Just read that last line, will you, Miss Dugan? " 

" Over th — I mean, * We in the office think that this 
copy marks a new record in soap advertising ' " 

" H'm. Yes." A moment's pause. A dreamy look 
on the face of the girl stenographer. Jock interpreted it. 
He knew that the stenographer was in the chair at the 
side of his desk, taking his dictation accurately and 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 107 

swiftly, while the spirit of the girl herself was far and 
away at Camp Grant at Rockford, Illinois, with an olive 
drab unit in an olive drab world. 

" and, in fact, in advertising copy of any descrip- 
tion that has been sent out from the Raynor offices." 

The girl's pencil flew over the pad. But when Jock 
paused for thought or breath she lifted her head and her 
eyes grew soft and bright, and her foot, in its absurd 
high-heeled gray boot, beat a smart left! Left! Left- 
right-left ! 

Something of this picture T. A. Buck saw in his un- 
tasted coffee-cup. Much of it Emma visualized in her 
speeding motor car. All of it Grace knew by heart as she 
moved about the new, shining house in the Chicago 
suburb, thinking, planning; feeling his agony, and trying 
not to admit the transparency of the look about her hands 
and her temples. So much for Chicago. 

At five o'clock Emma left the war to its own devices 
and dropped in at the loft building in which Featherlooms 
were born and grown up. Mike, the elevator man, 
twisted his gray head about at an unbelievable length to 
gaze appreciatively at the trim, uniformed figure. 

" Haven't seen you around fur many the day, Mis' 
Buck." 

" Been too busy, Mike." 

Mike turned back to face the door. " Well, 'tis a great 
responsibility, runnin' this war, an' all." He stopped at 
the Featherloom floor and opened the door with his 
grandest flourish. Emma glanced at him quickly. His 
face was impassive. She passed into the reception room 
with a little jingling of buckles and strap hooks. 

The work day was almost ended. The display room 
was empty of buyers. She could see the back of her 
husband's head in his office. He was busy at his desk. 
A stock girl was clearing away the piles of garments that 
littered tables and chairs. At the window near the door 
Fisk, the Western territory man, stood talking with 
O'Brien, city salesman. The two looked around at her 
approach. O'Brien's face lighted up with admiration. 
Into Fisk's face there flashed a look so nearly resembling 



io8 WAR STORIES 

resentment that Emma, curious to know its origin, 
stopped to chat a moment with the two. 

Said O'Brien, the gallant Irishman, " Tm more re- 
signed to war this minute, Mrs. Buck, than Tve been since 
it began." 

Emma dimpled, turned to Fisk, stood at attention. 
Fisk said nothing. His face was unsmiling. " Like my 
uniform?" Emma asked; and wished, somehow, that she 
hadn't. 

Fisk stared. His eyes had none of the softness of ad- 
miration. They were hard, resentful. Suddenly, " Like 
it ! God ! I wish I could wear one ! " He turned away 
abruptly. O'Brien threw him a sharp look. Then he 
cleared his throat, apologetically. 

Emma glanced down at her own trim self — at her 
stitched seams, her tailored lengths, her shining belt and 
buckles, her gloved hands — and suddenly and unaccount- 
ably her pride in them vanished. Something — some- 
thing 

She wheeled and made for Buck's office, her color 
high. He looked up, rose, offered her a chair. She felt 
strangely ill at ease there in the office to which she had 
given years of service. The bookkeeper in the glass- 
enclosed cubby-hole across the little hall smiled and 
nodded and called through the open door, " My, you're a 
stranger, Mrs. Buck." 

" Be with you in a minute, Emma," said T. A. And 
turned to his desk again. She rose and strolled toward 
the door, restlessly. " Don't hurry." Out in the show- 
room again she saw Fisk standing before a long table. 
He was ticketing and folding samples of petticoats, 
pajamas, blouses and nightgowns. His cigar was gripped 
savagely between his teeth and his eyes squinted half- 
closed through the smoke. 

She strolled over to him and fingered the cotton flannel 
of a garment that lay under her hand. " Spring 
samples ? " 

" Yes." 

" It ought to be a good trip. They say the West is 
dripping money, war or no war," 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 109 

" 'S right." 

"How's Gertie?" 

" Don't get me started, Mrs. Buck. That girl ! — say, 
I knew what she was when I married her, and so did you. 
She was head stenographer here long enough. But I 
never really knew that kid until now, and we've been 
married two years. You know what the last year has 
been for her; the baby and all. And then losing him. 
And do you know what she says! That if there was 
somebody who knew the Western territory and could 
cover it, she'd get a job and send me to war. Yessir! 
That's Gert. We've been married two years, and she says 
herself it's the first really happy time she's ever known. 
You know what she had at home. Why, even when I 
was away on my long spring trip she used to say it wasn't 
so bad being alone, because there was always my home- 
coming to count on. How's that for a wife ! " 

" Gertie's splendid," agreed Emma. And wondered 
why it sounded so lame. 

" You don't know her. Why, when it comes to patriot- 
ism, she makes T. R. look like a pacifist. She says if she 
could sell my line on the road, she'd make you give her 
the job so she could send her man to war. Gert says a 
traveling man's wife ought to make an ideal soldier's wife, 
anyway; and that if I went it would only be like my long 
Western trip, multiplied by about ten, maybe. That's 
Gertie." 

Emma was fingering the cotton-flannel garment on the 
table. 

Buck crossed the room and stood beside her. " Sorry 
I kept you waiting. Three of the boys were called to-day. 
It crippled us pretty badly in the shipping-room. Ready ? " 
Yes. Good-night, Charley. Give my love to Gertie." 
Thanks, Mrs. Buck." He picked up his cigar, took 
an apprehensive puff, and went on ticketing and folding. 
There was a grin behind the cigar now. 

Into the late afternoon glitter of Fifth Avenue. Five 
o'clock Fifth Avenue. Flags of every nation, save one. 
Uniforms of every blue from French to navy ; of almost 
any shade save field ^reen. Pongee-colpred Englishmen, 






no WAR STORIES 

seeming seven feet high, to a man ; aviators slim and ele- 
gant, with walking-sticks made of the propeller of their 
shattered planes, with a notch for every Hun plane 
bagged. Slim girls, exotic as the orchids they wore, 
gazing limpid-eyed at these warrior elegants. Women 
uniformed to the last degree of tailored exquisiteness. 
Girls, war accoutered, who brought arms up in sharp 
salute as they passed Emma. Buck eyed them gravely, 
hat and arm describing parabolas with increasing fre- 
quency as they approached Fiftieth Street, slackening as 
the colorful pageant grew less brilliant, thinned, and 
faded into the park mists. 

Emma's cheeks were a glorious rose-pink. Head high, 
shoulders back, she matched her husband's long stride 
every step of the way. Her eyes were bright and very 
blue. 

"There's a beautiful one, T. A.! The Canadian of- 
ficer with the limp. They've all been gassed, and shot 
five times in the thigh and seven in the shoulder, and yet 
look at 'em ! What do you suppose they were when they 
were new if they can look like that, damaged ! " 

Buck cut a vicious little semicircle in the air with his 
walking-stick. 

" I know now how the father of the Gracchi felt, and 
why you never hear him mentioned." 

" Nonsense, T. A. You're doing a lot." She did not 
intend her tone to be smug ; but if she had glanced side- 
wise at her husband, she might have seen the pained red 
mount from chin to brow. She did not seem to sense his 
hurt. They went on, past the plaza now. Only a few 
blocks lay between them and their home ; the old brown- 
stone house that had been New York's definition of 
architectural elegance in the time of T. A. Buck, Sr. 

" Tell me, Emma. Does this satisfy you — the work 
you're doing, I mean? Do you think you're giving the 
best you've got ? " 

" Well, of course I'd like to go to France " 

" I didn't ask you what you'd like." 

" Yes, sir. Very good, sir. I don't know what you 
call giving the best one has got. But you know I work 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT iii 

from eight in the morning until midnight, often and often. 
Oh, I don't say that some one eke couldn't do my work 
just as well. And I don't say, either, that it doesn't in- 
clude a lot of dashing up and down Fifth Avenue, and 
teaing at the Ritz, and meeting magnificent Missions, and 
being cooed over by Lady Millionaires. But if you'd 
like a few statistics as to the number of hundreds of thou- 
sands of soldiers we've canteened since last June, I'd be 
pleased to oblige." She tugged at a capacious pocket and 
brought forth a smart leather-bound note-book. 

" Spare me ! I've had all the statistics I can stand for 
one day at the office. I know you're working hard. I 
just wondered if you didn't realize " 

They turned into their own street. " Realize what ? " 

" Nothing. Nothing." 

Emma sighed a mock sigh and glanced up at the win- 
dows of her own house. " Oh, well, everybody's difficult 
these days, T. A., including husbands. That second win- 
dow shade is crooked. Isn't it queer how maids never 
do. . . . I'll tell you what I can realize, though. I 
realize that we're going to have dinner at home, reg'lar 
old-fashioned befo'-de-war. And I can bathe before 
dinner. There's richness." 

But when she appeared at dinner, glowing, radiant, her 
hair shiningly re-coifed, she again wore the blue uniform, 
with the service cap atop her head. Buck surveyed her, 
unsmiling. She seated herself at table with a little clink- 
ing of buckles and buttons. She flung her motor gloves 
on a near-by chair, ran an inquiring finger along belt and 
collar with a little gesture that was absurdly feminine in 
its imitation of masculinity. 

Buck did not sit down. He stood at the opposite side 
of the table, one hand on his chair, the knuckles showing 
white where he gripped it. 

" It seems to me, Emma, that you might manage to 
wear something a little less military when you're dining at 
home. War is war, but I don't see why you should make 
me feel like your orderly. It's like being married to a 
police-woman. Surely you can neglect your country for 
the length of time it takes to dine with your husband." 



112 WAR STORIES 

It was the bitterest speech he had made to her in the 
years of their married ' life. She flushed a little. " I 
thought you knew that I was going out again immediately 
after dinner. I left at five with the understanding that 
rd be on duty again at 8 : 30." 

He said nothing. He stood looking down at his own 
hand that gripped the chair-back so tightly. Emma sat 
back and surveyed her trim and tailored self with a 
placidity that had in it, perhaps, a dash gf malice. His 
last speech had cut. Then she reached forward, helped 
herself to an olive, and nibbled it, head on one side. 

"D'you know, T. A., what I think? H'm? I think 
you're jealous of your wife's uniform." 

She had touched the match to the dynamite. 

He looked up. At the blaze in his eyes she shrank back 
a little. His face was white. He was breathing quickly. 

" You're right ! I am. I am jealous. I'm jealous of 
every buck private in the army ! I'm jealous of the mule 
drivers! Of the veterinarians. Of the stokers in the 
transports. Men ! " He doubled his hand into a fist. 
His fine eyes glowed. " Men ! " 

And suddenly he sat down, heavily, and covered his 
eyes with his hands. 

Emma sat staring at him for a dull, sickening moment. 
Then she looked down at herself, horror in her eyes. 
Then up again at him. She got up and came over to him. 

" Why, dear — dearest — I didn't know. I thought you 
were satisfied. I thought you were happy. You " 

" Honey, the only man who's happy is the man in 
khaki. The rest of us are gritting our teeth and pre- 
tending." , 

She put a hand on his shoulder. " But what do you 
want — what can you do that " 

He reached back over his shoulder and found her hand. 
He straightened. His head came up. " They've offered 
me a job in Bordeaux. It isn't a fancy job. It has to do 
with merchandising. But I think you know they're hav- 
ing a devil of a time with all the millions of bales of 
goods. They need men who know materials. I ought 
to. I've handled cloth and clothes enough. I know 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 113 

values. It would mean hard work — ^manual work lots 
of times. No pay. And happiness. For me." There 
was a silence. It seemed to fill the room, that silence. 
It filled the house. It roared and thundered about 
Emma's ears, that silence. When finally she broke it : 

"Blind!" she said. "Blind! Deaf! Dumb! And 
crazy." She laughed, and two tears sped down her 
cheeks and dropped on the unblemished blue serge uni- 
form. "Oh, T. A.! Where have I been? How you 
must have despised me. Me, in my uniform. In my uni- 
form that was costing the government three strapping 
men. My uniform, that was keeping three man-size sol- 
diers out of khaki. You, Jock, and Fisk. Why didn't 
you tell me, dear ! Why didn't you tell me ! " 

" I've tried. I couldn't. You've always seen things 
first. I couldn't ask you to go back to the factor)'." 

" Factory ! Factory nothing ! I'm going back on the 
road. I'm taking Fisk's Western territory. I know the 
Middle West better than Fisk himself. I ought to. I 
covered it for ten years. I'll pay Gertie Fisk's salary 
until she's able to come back to us as stenographer. 
We've never had one so good. Grace can give the office 
a few hours a week. And we can promote O'Brien to 
manager while I'm on the road." 

Buck was staring at her dully. " Grace ? Now wait a 
minute. You're traveling too fast for a mere man." 
His hand was gripping hers, tight, tight. 

Their dinner was cooling on the table. They ignored 
it. She pulled a chair around to his. They sat shoulder 
to shoulder, elbows on the cloth. 

" It took me long enough to wake up, didn't it ? I've 
got to make up for lost time. The whole thing's clear in 
my mind. Now get this : Jock gets a commission. Grace 
and the babies pack up and come to New York, and live 
right here, with me, in this house. Fisk goes to war. 
Gertie gets well and comes back to work for Feather- 
looms. Mr. T. A. Buck goes to Bordeaux. Old Emmer 
takes off her uniform and begins to serve her country— 
on the road." 

At that he got up and began pacing the room. " I 



114 WAR STORIES 

can't have you do that, dear. Why, you left all that be- 
hind when you married me." 

" Yes, but our marriage certificate didn't carry a war 
guarantee." 

" Gad, Emma, you're glorious ! " 

" Glorious nothing ! I'm going to earn the living for 
three families for a few months, until things get going. 
And there's nothing glorious about that, old dear. I 
haven't any illusions about what taking a line on the road 
means these days. It isn't traveling. It's exploring. 
You never know where you're going to land, or when, 
unless you're traveling in a freight train. They're cock 
o' the walk now. I think I'll check myself through as 
first-class freight. Or send my pack ahead, with natives 
on foot, like an African explorer. But it'll be awfully 
good for me character. And when I'm eating that 
criminal com bread they serve on dining cars on a train 
that's seven hours late into Duluth I'll remember when I 
had my picture, in uniform, in the Sunday supplements, 
with my hand on the steering wheel along o' the nobility 
and gentry." 

" Listen, dear, I can't have you " 

" Too late. Got a pencil ? Let's send fifty words to 
Jock and Grace. They'll wire back ' No ! ' but another 
fifty'U fetch 'em. After all, it takes more than one night 
letter to explain a move that is going to change eight 
lives. Now let's have dinner, dear. It'll be cold, but 
filling." 

Perhaps, in the whirlwind ten days that followed, a 
woman of less energy, less determination, less courage 
and magnificent vitality might have faltered and failed 
in an undertaking of such magnitude. But Emma was 
alert and forceful enough to keep just one jump ahead of 
the swift-moving times. In a less cataclysmic age the 
changes she wrought within a period of two weeks would 
have seemed herculean. But in this time of stress and 
change, when every household in every street in every 
town in all the country was feeling the tremor of up- 
heaval, the readjustment of this little family and business 
group was so unremarkable as to pass unnoticed. Even the 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 115 

members of the group itself, seeing themselves scattered 
to camp, to France, to New York, to the Middle West, 
shuffled like pawns that the Great Game might the better 
be won, felt strangely unconcerned and unruffled. 

It was little more than two weeks after the night of 
Emma's awakening that she was talking fast to keep from 
crying hard, as she stuffed plain, practical blue serge 
garments (unmilitary) into a bellows suitcase (" Can't 
count on trunks these days," she had said. " Fm not 
taking any chances on a clean shirt-waist.") Buck, stand- 
ing in the doorway, tried hard to keep his gaze from the 
contemplation of his khaki-clad self reflected in the long 
mirror. At intervals he said : 

" Can't I help, dear ? " Or, " Talk about the early Pil- 
grim mothers, and the Revolutionary mothers, and the 
Civil War mothers ! I'd like to know what they had on 
you, Emma." 

And from Emma. " Yeh, ain't I noble ! " Then, after 
a little pause. " This house is going to be so full of 
wimmin folks it'll look like a Home for Decayed Gentle- 
women. Buddy McChesney, aged six months, is going 
to be the only male protector around the place. We'll 
make him captain of the home guard." 

" Gertie was in to-day. She says I'm a shrimp in my 
uniform compared to Charley. You know she always 
was the nerviest little stenographer we ever had about the 
place, but she knows more about Featherlooms than any 
woman in the shop, except you. She's down to ninety- 
eight pounds, poor little girl, but every ounce of it's pure 
pluck, and she says she'll be as good as new in a month 
or two, and I honestly believe she will." 

Emma was counting a neat stack of folded handker- 
chiefs. " Seventeen — eighteen When she comes 

back we'll have to pay her twice the salary she got when 
she left. But then, you have to pay an errand boy what 
you used to pay a shipping clerk, and a stock girl de- 
mands money that an operator used to brag about." 

Buck came over to her and put a hand on the bright 
hair that was rumpled, now, from much diving into bags 
and suitcases and clothes closets. 



ii6 WAR STORIES 

"All except you, Emma. You'll be working without a 
salary — working like a man — like three men " 

" Working for three men, T. A. Three fighting men. 
Tve got two service buttons already," she glanced down 
at her blouse, " and Charley Fisk said I had the right to 
wear one for him. I'll look like a mosaic, but I'm going 
to put 'em all on." 

The day before Emma's departure for the West Grace 
arrived, with bags, bundles and babies. A wan and tired 
Grace, but proud, too, and with the spirit of the times in 
her eyes. 

" Jock ! " she repeated, in answer to their questions. 
" My dears, he doesn't know I'm alive. I visited him at 
camp the day before I left. He thinks he'll be trans- 
ferred East, as we hoped. Wouldn't that be glorious! 
Well, I had all sorts of intimate and vital things to dis- 
cuss with him, and he didn't hear what I was saying. 
He wasn't even listening. He couldn't wait until I had 
finished a sentence so that he could cut in with something 
about his work. I murmured to him in the moonlight 
that there was something I had long meant to tell him 
and he answered that dammit he forgot to report that 
rifle that exploded. And when I said, ' Dearest, isn't this 
hotel a little like the place we spent our honeymoon in — 
that porch, and all ? ' he said, ' See this feller coming, 
Gracie? The big guy with the mustache. Now mash 
him, Gracie. He's my Captain. I'm going to introduce 
you. He was a senior at college when I was a fresh.' " 

But the peace and the pride in her eyes belied her 
words. 

Emma's trip, already delayed, was begun ten days be- 
fore her husband's date for sailing. She bore that, too, 
with smiling equanimity. " When I went to school," 
she said, " I thought I hated the Second Pelopennesian 
War worse than any war I'd ever heard of. But I hate 
this one so that I want every one to get into it one hun- 
dred per cent, so that it'll be over sooner ; and because 



we ve won." 



They said little on their way to the train. She stood 
on the rear platform just before the train pulled out 



ONE HUNDRED PER CENT 117 

They had tried frantically to get a lower berth, but un- 
successfully. " Don't look so tragic about it," she 
laughed. " It's like old times. These last three years 
have been a dream — a delusion." 

He looked up at her, as she stood there in her blue 
suit, and white blouse, and trim blue hat and crisp veil. 
" Gad, Emma, it's uncanny. I believe you're right. You 
look exactly as you did when I first saw you, when you 
came in off the road after father died and I had just taken 
hold of the business." 

For answer she hummed a few plaintive bars. He 
grinned as he recognized " Silver Threads Among the 
Gold." The train moved away, gathered speed. He fol- 
lowed it. They were not smiling now. She was leaning 
over the railing, as though to be as near to him as the 
fast-moving train would allow. He was walking swiftly 
along with the train, as though hypnotized. Their eyes 
held. The brave figure in blue on the train platform. 
The brave figure in khaki outside. The blue suddenly 
swam in a haze before his eyes ; the khaki a mist before 
hers. The crisp little veil was a limp little rag when 
finally she went in to search for Upper Eleven. 

The white-coated figure that had passed up and down 
the aisle unnoticed and unnoticing as she sat hidden be- 
hind the kindly folds of her newspaper suddenly became 
a very human being as Emma regained self-control, de- 
cided on dinner as a panacea, and informed the white 
coat that she desired Upper Eleven made up early. 

The White Coat had said, " Yas'm," and glanced up 
at her. Whereupon she had said: 

" Why, William ! " 

And he, " Well, fo' de Ian' ! 'F 'tain't Mis' McChes- 
ney ! Well mah sakes alive, Mis' McChesney ! Ah ain't 
seen yo' since yo' married. Ah done yeah yo' married 
yo' boss an' got a swell brownstone house, an' ev'thing 
gran' " 

" I've got everything, William, but a lower berth to 
Chicago. They swore they couldn't give me anything 
but an upper." 

A speculative look crept into William's rolling eye. 



ii8 WAR STORIES 

Emma recognized it. Her hand reached toward her bag. 
Then it stopped. She smiled. " No. No, William. 
Time was. But not these days. Four years ago Td have 
slipped you fifty cents right now, and you'd have pro- 
duced a lower berth from somewhere. But Tm going to 
fool you. My boss has gone to war, William, and so has 
my son. And I'm going to take that fifty cents and buy 
thrift stamps for Miss Emma McChesney, aged three, and 
Mr. Buddy McChesney, aged six months. And FU dis- 
pose my old bones in Upper Eleven." 

She went in to dinner. 

At eight-thirty a soft and deferential voice sounded in 
her ear. 

"Ah got yo' made up. Mis' McChesney." 

" But this is my " 

He beckoned. He padded down the aisle with that 
walk which is a peculiar combination of flat feet and 
twenty years of swaying car. Emma followed. He 
stopped before Lower Six and drew aside the curtain. It 
was that lower which can always be produced, magically, 
though ticket sellers, Pullman agents, porters and train 
conductors swear that it does not exist. The key to it is 
silver, but to-night Emma McChesney Buck had unlocked 
it with finer metal. Gold. Pure gold. For William 
drew aside the curtain with a gesture such as one of his 
slave ancestors might have used before a queen of Egypt. 
He carefully brushed a cinder from the sheet with one 
gray-black hand. Then he bowed like any courtier. 

Emma sank down on the edge of the couch with a 
little sigh of weariness. Gratefulness was in it, too. 
She looked up at him — at the wrinkled, kindly, ape-like 
face, and he looked down at her. 

" William," she said, " war is a filthy, evil, vile thing, 
but it bears wonderful white flowers." 

" Yas'm ! " agreed William, genially, and smiled all 
over his rubbery, gray-black countenance. " Yas'ml " 

And who shall say he did not understand? 



« 



Blind Vision 



By Mary Mitchell Freedly 

Four months of pleasant meetings led to the superficial 
intimacy that war makes possible, so that I regretted the 
moving of the hospital and the need of a rest which took 
me to Paris. 

It was there, one dreary evening in late November, 
that Marston's name was brought to my dim little apart- 
ment, with the request that, if possible, I receive him at 
once. I was about to sit down to a lonely dinner, and 
the prospect of his company delighted me. Then he came 
into the room. 

I had last seen him with his friend Esme as they stood 
together waving me good-bye, the rich heavy summer 
sunshine all about them, though something more than a 
trick of golden light flooded their faces. They were both 
vitally alive in widely different ways; and yet they 
strangely seemed to be merely parts of each other. Esme 
was an erratic dreamer and seer of visions, and lacked 
always, even in the unimportant aspects of living, any 
sense of the personal, the concrete; Marston, in a curi- 
ous contrast, was at all times practical, level-headed, full 
of the luster of life. 

The man who stood hesitatingly just inside my door 
was not Marston, but some stone-sculptured image of the 
gay, glad boy I had known. 

The cry I could not choke broke through his terrible 
immobility, and he spoke, the words sounding unreal, as 
though he had memorized them for a lesson and rehearsed 
their very intonation. 

* By permission of The Century and Mary Mitchell Freedly. Copy- 
right, 1918, by The Century Magazine. 

119 



I20 WAR STORIES 

" I had to come. I had to tell some one. Then I will 
go away. I don't know where; just away. You knew 
him, knew I loved him. Will you let me tell you ? Then 
I will go away." 

It flashed across my mind in the second before I found 
words that I had half wondered why Esme was not with 
him. It seemed impossible that even their bodies could 
be separated. 

I tried to lead him to the fire and remove his overcoat, 
but he pushed me from him. 

" No, no ; don't touch me. You don't know, don't un- 
derstand. I've hunted two weeks trying to find some 
one — ^you, any one who knew us, to whom I could tell it." 
He hesitated, and I waited. His voice took on a curious 
quality of childlike appeal as he went on : " You know I 
loved him, know I'd have given my life for his, don't 
you ? " Such phrasing was utterly unlike Marston, but I 
had seen their friendship in all the glory of its intensity, 
and I knew no sacrifice would have been too great. I as- 
sured him of this, and, remembering my nursing, in- 
sisted that he eat, promising to listen to anything he 
wanted to tell me. 

We sat facing each other across the spread table, but 
neither of us thought of the food after the first few 
mouthfuls. Twice in the early part of his story I filled 
his glass with claret, but I cannot recollect his drinking 
any. 

** You must think this strange of me, but I'm not really 
mad, not now. You see, I've lived with the horror ever 
since they gave me leave — just afterward, trying to find 
some one I could talk to, some one who would help me go 
on and finish the things we'd 

'■ I want to make it all as clear as possible, but I've got 
to tell it my own way, and that isn't clear. 

" Do you remember Brander ? We brought him over 
once or twice. He was a mighty decent sort of fellow. 
Somehow, though, I hated his being such friends with 
Esme, I'd been his only one for so long, you see. 
Brander was born in India, and somehow Esme found it 
out ; from hearing him curse in a dialect, I think. They 



BLIND VISION 121 

used to talk some unheard-of jargon to each other and 
enjoyed it. 

" Well, one day Brander got smashed in a fight up the 
lines, along the British front, and was dying. He kept 
asking for Esme, calling his name, and when Esme got 
word of it, of course he started at once. He took one of 
the baby Nieuports; they're fast, — and not much of a 
target from below. He knew the Germans had a masked 
battery which he'd have to cross. 

" I thought rd like to see him across the enemy coun- 
try, so I let him get a good start, and then I went up. 
I lost sight of him in a cloud-bank, and must have flown 
beyond him, for when I cleared it, he was behind and 
below me, and coming toward him a big German fighting- 
plane. 

" Esme's wasn't a fighting-machine, and he should have 
tried to get away; but he must have seen the German a 
second after I did and judged it too late. He fired his 
revolver once, then suddenly seemed to lose control of 
his machine, and dropped to the lever of the other. He 
must have thought he was done for, and made his decision 
on the instant, counting it better to try to ram the German 
plane and go down to death together than to take the 
millionth chance of landing and let the enemy escape. He 
went head-on at the other, and they fell, woven as one 
machine, just inside the German lines. 

" Somehow I got back to our fellows ; God knows I 
wish I hadn't. 

" Every man in our escadrille paid in his own way un- 
conscious tribute to Esme's memory. We were awfully 
and justly proud of him, — it's something to have died for 
France, — but for all of us the fun, the excitement, of the 
work had gone, been snuffed out. No one turned cork- 
screw somersaults, Esme's great stunt; not one did any 
of his special tricks any more, not even to show off before 
the new men. 

" We got one of those French immortelle wreaths, tied 
to it his name and the number of the machine he was 
driving, and dropped it inside their lines. The next 
morning just at sunrise one of their men flew over our 



122 WAR STORIES 

hangars and threw down a stone. Painted on it in Ger- 
man was, 'Your dead sends thanks!' That's just Hke 
them, brutal, and the last word on their side. 

" There's always work to be done in war, each day's 
effort to be made, and the mercy of constant doing helped 
me. I used to try to forget the fighting and the horrors 
and go back to the old days. 

" Esme never was like other men in certain ways — all 
the early things that were unconsciously part of him, I 
suppose. Even as a little shaver at school he couldn't be 
made to understand the * why ' of a schoolboy's code. 
He used to rush headlong into anything and everything, 
and he generally came out on top. He did the most out- 
rageous things calmly, unthinkingly, and we always made 
excuses, forgave him, because he was Esme.- At college 
the men were sometimes rather nasty to him, partly be- 
cause he couldn't understand their points of view ; and he 
used to stare a minute and then loll away. He never 
hurried, — perhaps it was his Oriental blood, — but he 
always got there, and could make his very lolling an 
insult. 

" I used to wonder just what it was that made Esme a 
great aviator. He was a phenomenally good pilot, al- 
though he himself never seemed to realize his remarkable 
ability. His losing control of his machine that day was 
inexplicable. But one can't tell. That high up the 
slightest thing uncounted on means death. Those days 
after 

"A month went by. One morning our anti-aircrafters 
started, and we rushed to see what was doing, and there, 
just a blot against the unclouded sky, was a plane turn- 
ing corkscrew somersaults one after another as it came 
lower and lower. I went mad for a few minutes; only 
Esme could turn corkscrews in such a way. I got the 
captain, and begged him to give orders for our gunners to 
stop. I must have made him feel the certainty of the 
wild thing I believed, for he gave the order. It was one 
of our own machines, in it Esme, alone — Esme in the 
flesh before us, drawn and haggard and old, but Esme. 

"At first he couldn't speak. We called it strain ; per- 



BLIND VISION 123 

haps in any other man we shouldn't, even in our minds, 
have given it its real name — emotion. He was like a girl. 
When I put my arm across his shoulders in the old, 
familiar way, he began to weep silently. 

" The fellows were awfully decent and drifted away 
out of kindness, leaving him alone with me. We went to 
our tent, the one we'd shared together, and there, after a 
little while, he told me how it all happened. 

"When the two machines fell together in a tangled 
heap, by some miraculous chance he was unhurt. The 
German was dead before they landed, he thought. 

" Then began the slow, torturing weeks. They kept at 
him day and night, night and day. They never left him 
alone, not just guards, but some one always near him 
whose only business it was to watch him. 

" He was a marked man. The Germans knew him to 
be our best, perhaps the best aviator in all the Allied 
armies, and they needed him. They tried every sort of 
hellish torture on him, things one mustn't think about, to 
get him to take up one of their photographers over the 
French trenches, knowing he could do certain notorious 
tricks which would prove him our man and so render the 
taking of the necessary pictures comparatively safe. He 
stuck it out, growing weaker and weaker, until the order 
came that he was to take up their man in his own machine 
(they'd used their diabolical skill to reconstruct it), 

or Perhaps if it had been an order to shoot him 

then and there, courage would have held out; but the 
other He was broken, weakened, driven ; he gave in. 

" They'd taken photographs for miles along the French 
and British fronts when Esme noticed the strap which 
held the camera man was loosened. The man was busy 
adjusting the films for a new set. Esme pulled, the strap 
gave way; he lurched the machine suddenly, and turned 
it over, — his famous somersault trick, — and then, without 
looking back or down, made for our camp. 

" Sometimes one forgets to guard one's expression. I 
suppose mine showed the horror I couldn't help feeling. 
He put his hand out to touch me, but I jumped up and 
moved away. ' Marston,' he said, ' what's the matter ? 



124 WAR STORIES 

Aren't you glad? There wasn't any other way but to 
give in to them. You don't know what it's like to feel 
yourself dying by inches, a little piece more every day, all 
the time knowing you can't die enough, and then to chance 
to be free once more, in the air, clean; you only fifty 
miles away, and one man between us — one man. What 
was his life among so many? It's war, Marston; 
war.' 

" I failed him then. I didn't stop to think of his over- 
wrought condition, mentally and physically. He simply 
wasn't responsible. I had a quick vision of the way the 
other men would take it, of how I'd try and try to ex- 
plain Esme's action because it was Esme's, and all the 
time I'd know the explanations weren't any good. We 
have a code all our own ; not rules, no mention ever made 
of its interpretation — just an aviator's honor. 

" Now, looking back, I can't think why Esme's dropping 
the man out seemed so hideous. It did, though, and I 
failed him. He wanted to hear me say the words of 
welcome he'd counted on, and I just stood and looked at 
him. He was making queer, whimpering little noises, 
with his mouth wobbling all over his face, and I watched 
him. He was suifering, and I looked on. 

"After a while the whimperings turned into words, and 
the words started with giggles. 'Aren't you g-glad, 
Marston ? A-aren't you g-glad ? A-aren't you ? ' 

" I turned on him, all the friendship and the memories 
of the years behind swept away. I didn't know what I 
was saying. I'm not sure now; something about the 
things one doesn't do, that it wasn't war the way we 
fought it to drop a man thousands of feet who was only 
doing his duty. It was murder. Over and over I said 
it — that word murder. He wasn't my friend; he was a 
murderer ! 

" I went out of the tent to escape his staring, pleading 
eyes — child's eyes. Even while I was saying the words 
I knew he didn't understand. He had done what he 
thought justifiable, necessary; he wanted to get back to 
me, and I called him a murderer. 

" Once just as I started for the mess to get him some- 



BLIND VISION 125 

thing to eat I thought I heard him call my name; but I 
went on. I needed more time. 

" I was gone perhaps ten minutes. When I reentered 
the tent it was empty. Esme was nowhere about, but I 
didn't think of looking for him then, for I thought he'd 
probably joined one of the other men. Later I got wor- 
ried, and we started a search. He wasn't in our camp. 
No one had seen him. 

" We waited and wondered. I prayed. Then I found 
a little scribbled note knocking about among my things. 

" We never found any trace even of him or the smallest 
clue, just the note; that's all I have left of Esme. Here 
it is: 

" * You've tried to tell me your opinion of the trick I 
played on an enemy. In any other arm of the service 
what I did would have gone, been all right, been smart. 
Isn't that what you meant, Marston ? But with our boys, 
because we've chosen to have a different, a higher stand- 
ard, because we fight cleanly, what I did was — dirty. 
Well, I understand. You and the other men are dif- 
ferent ; I'm not, but I can pay. I'm going back. Don't 
try to stop me before I reach their lines. You can't. I 
go to render unto Caesar. A life for a life. To give 
them at least my death, since I can no longer offer even 
that proudly to France.' 

" There has been bravery and heroism in the war, but 
Esme went back ; he knew to what — yet he went. 

" God grant he is dead ! I tried to make words ex- 
press an inexpressible thing. All my life to live out — 
remembering, knowing I killed my friend ! " 

Perhaps Marston went on speaking; I don't know. I 
only remember the broken stem of his glass, the stain 
that was spreading slowly over the white cloth, and the 
dripping, dripping red of his hands. 



*The Flag Factory 

By Margarita Spalding Gerry 

" The boys are late." The maid looked up from the 
knives and forks she was laying straight — oh, very 
straight! She was surprised at the anxiety in Mrs. 
Gerald's tone. The sun was hardly low yet, that sweet 
summer afternoon. In following her mistress' glance 
out of the window and down the street, Greta's eyes 
were caught by a company of the Bancroft Guards drill- 
ing on an opposite lawn. Some awakened tradition 
thrilled in her and, a spoon in each hand, she gazed spell- 
bound. The mother moved restlessly through the house 
and out onto the piazza. It was so natural to gravitate 
to the outside living-room. Past springs and summers 
her sons were never there long before other boys gathered 
— happy, sunburnt young fellows in white ducks and 
short-sleeved sport shirts, on their way from tennis or 
canoeing. Lemonade and perennial cookies probably 
had something to do with the popularity of the piazza. 

In the intense late sunlight the many flags gave the 
quiet street a gala aspect. Mrs. Gerald gazed down the 
suburban vista of trimmed lawns and striped porch 
awnings. Through the leaves came vivid flashes of tri- 
color as the big oblongs of bunting shifted in the gentle 
air. 

In the distance she heard the closing whistle of the 
flag factory, the only industry of the little town. It was 
seven o'clock. This was late for the whistle to blow, 
but they were working overtime at the factory to supply 
the enormous demand for the national colors. 

" How morbid I am ! " she said aloud. " It will be a 

* By permission of The Ladies* Home Journal and Margarita Spalding 
Gerry. Copyright, 19 17, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

126 



THE FLAG FACTORY 127 

whole year yet. There was reason to be afraid when 
the prospect was they would be called at eighteen. It 
may be over in a year. Things will go on as they have 
always done. After a while the boys will marry. There 
won't be less happiness: there'll be more. How heavy 
the wistaria perfume is ! How late they are ! " 

She wandered back into the cool airiness of the dining- 
room. The table was quite perfect. " Really it's won- 
derful how Greta has learned! I'm lucky to keep her. 
The flag factory has taken so many girls away. Mrs. 
Carroll says her flag comes from there. It certainly is 
a good one." 

She moved about the room, putting anything she could 
find out of position back where it belonged. Her desk 
was littered and she went eagerly toward it, and then 
stood still with a sudden recollection of some half-forgot- 
ten unpleasantness. 

" Oh, yes ; that was it ! " She had a momentary sat- 
isfaction in recalling what she had forgotten, before she 
realized again that it was something serious. She began 
putting the little tumbled piles of papers into their proper 
pigeonholes. Two or three of the first-of-the-month 
bills hadn't yet been opened. She winced a little when 
she recalled why she had stopped opening them. Now 
she slit the remaining envelopes with a paper knife and 
looked at the figures without really seeing them. 

" Mother ! Mother ! Where are you ? " That was al- 
ways Ted's way. He began to call as soon as he came 
near the house. The next instant she could see the funny 
little mustache on Phil's lip, that they had teased him so 
about, and the freckles across Ted's nose. 

As soon as they had really come everything began to 
seem commonplace again. She realized she had been 
foolish to think their lateness meant anything. There 
were the little flags on their coat collars, but that didn't 
have any significance ; little primary children were wear- 
ing those; they made those, too, at the flag factory. 
Probably it was her own morbidity that made the even- 
ing greeting of the fresh boyish lips seem more tender 
than usual. The protecting tenderness that had lately 



128 WAR STORIES 

come to mingle with the old-time docility in Phil's eyes 

thrilled her. But it was Ted that she couldn't keep ner 

hands away from. 

They hustled her gayly out to dinner; one grasping 

each arm. 

" So sorry. Met Phil on the way home " 

" We just did an errand on the way " 

" If you scold I'll just bust right out andweep,muzz " 

" Don't you pay any attention to him. He's a sob 

artist. My feelings are deeper, but I can't express 



em." 



The revulsion of feeling made her as sparkling and 
rosy as a girl. 

Greta stepped nimbly. The dinner was almost as good 
as if it had been served on time. With the first hint of 
warm weather they used the bare mahogany table because 
they loved the dainty rounds of frosty lacework against 
the polished wood. The candles made their own soft 
radiance. And Greta was like a child in her love of 
making the glass and silver shine. * 

" How I love the evening hour ! " the mother thought, 
and was surprised again to find her lashes wet. 

At first there was an abundant flow of chatter from 
the boys. But she noticed they didn't eat so much as 
usual. And that, too, when some instinct had made her 
have each dish something they were especially fond of. 
They had taken so much trouble with the chicken, Greta 
and she. It had the celery and just the touch of onion 
that Ted insisted on, with cream and mushrooms — in 
spite of the high cost of everything — and the dash of 
nutmeg. 

When she met Ted's eyes and realized that he was 
only pretending to be hungry, and that he blushed to see 
she had discovered it, she was afraid. It seemed to her 
that Ted was a little pale. Even in the soft candle-light 
she could see the freckles on his cheeks. 

" What are they going to tell me ? " A rush of fear 
seemed to lodge in her throat. The thought of food was 
a sickening thing. Yet she, too, hid her lack of appetite 
from the boys. 



THE FLAG FACTORY 129 

" I saw Esther down-town, Phil. She's prettier than 
ever." This showed her desperate state of mind. She 
hated that kind of banter — unless it were an unreasoning 
elemental curiosity that made her unwilling to admit that 
anything feminine except herself could influence her son. 
But to-day pretty, coquettish Esther was a vague ally 
against her fears. She expected Ted to take up the chal- 
lenge with a zest. But both boys were silent. Then she 
knew something was coming. 

When Phil had only half eaten his dessert — almost all 
whipped cream too — ^he cleared his throat and said : 

"Mother!" 

She started. It had come. " Wait — wait until I ring 
for Greta. Let's go out on the piazza." Her instinct 
was to ward it off. But when they were settled there, 
the boys perched on the railing opposite her, their boyish 
faces serious, her breath fluttered in her throat. The 
night was full of soft tender voices. How could she be 
ready ? 

" Wait " she had begun, when Phil's voice stopped 

her. 

" Mother, we have been down to Guard headquarters. 
They want a few more men. There's a show that they'll 
send us first. Think of it, mother — to be the first of our 
troops to enter France — to show them what we feel — 
about — about the fight they've been putting up — to help 
France ! " A throbbing triumphant passion was in the 
boy's voice — that splendid passion of man against op- 
pression, for right against outrageous violence. It lifted 
him all at once out of her arms, above her — her boy, who 
was barely twenty. She gripped her hands to keep the 
first words back. 

" But, mother " — Ted's voice broke in headlong — 
" we're not going to enlist unless you're willing." 

Yies, yes, it was true. Ted thought of her first. 

" We have you to think of. And we'd wait tmtil we're 
the right age, only — only — it may be all over by the time 
I'm twenty-one and have had training." 

As if she needed to be told his age — how long before he 
would be liable ! As if there were any mother of a son 



130 WAR STORIES 

in the country who had not been reckoning her boy's age 
in months where before she had reckoned it in years ! 

"And I want But we've you to think of." 

"And we thought " — Phil's reasonable voice took up the 
strain — " that owning the house, and with a few hundreds 
of ready money in the bank, and The Investment " (some- 
how the Western lands her husband had put a little 
legacy into had always gone by that dignified title in the 
family) " you ought to be very comfortable. By the way, 
has Redford been to see you about it? From what I 
said some time ago about the location he thinks his com- 
pany would be keen to buy. That surely was a good in- 
vestment! It's worth about ten tfmes what father gave 
for it, isn't it ? Has Redford been in ? " 

" No, Mr. Redford has not been here." 

" Well, that doesn't matter. You have only to choose 
your market. But I'd want to be sure you could close 
out pretty soon. Redford's company is a good one, or 
the Stover people. Anyway, that land will take care of 
you all right. Not that we'd go if you are not willing. 
But I'd have to go in a year anyway. And I'm so ever- 
lastingly afraid that I won't get in it until the big work is 
all over " 

" I'm the younger. If you just say so, mother, I'll 
give it up." Ted's attempt to keep the resignation out of 
his voice was pitifully transparent. Rash, red-headed 
Ted quivered with eagerness for the splendid adventure, 
the adventure that every fiber of him craved. 

" Don't hurry, mother." The hint of hidden tender- 
ness in Phil's voice — a voice so like his father's — almost 
startled her. " We'll wait until you're quite sure. We'll 
stay, one or both of us. Or we'll go if you're willing. 
We'll wait until you've thought it over — until nine o'clock 
if you say so," he concluded soberly. 

She almost laughed. That was so deliciously like a 
boy. To deliberate a whole half hour was caution. The 
question whether or not to send out her two boys — all 
she had of life and joy — dearer than herself — infinitely — 
was to be decided in thirty minutes ! And Phil evidently 
considered himself gray-headed with caution. And all 



THE FLAG FACTORY 131 

that people had said or written about the war seemed to 
be in her head at the same time ! But the one image that 
persisted was of a long, jagged cut on Ted's arm, with 
the blood dripping from it, that she had bandaged when 
he was a little boy. That seemed worse than anything 
she had heard. The sickness was as if she had fainted. 
Perhaps she had for a moment, for when next she heard 
the boys' voices they seemed far away and she had lost 
something. 

" They're holding the places open for us until 

nine." She had to strain her ears to make sure it was 
Phil who was talking. "Just think, mother, if they should 
send us among the first, a whole battalion from Ban- 
croft — us fellows who have grown up together—;^ — " 

"We won't go unless you say," Ted interrupted. 
There was a hint of something remorseful in his tone. 
Yes, Ted understood better. The tie was strong. " But 
we knew that with the house and The Investment you'd 
be comfortable — 



lomioriaoie " 

« 



Comfortable." It was such a little while ago that 
that word had come to her over and over, about her sweet 
dear life in the home her husband and she had worked 
for, and with her boys. 

" Do you think you have decided now, mother ? " 
Phil was fidgeting about and looking up and down the 
street — as she had been doing a little earlier. " I'm ex- 
pecting Blackburn at nine. We'll do just as you say, but 
it seems to me that fellows like us with no one dependent 
on them ought to be the ones to fight for our country." 

" Just as you wish, mother," Ted's voice quavered. 

She couldn't sit still. -She began pacing up and down 
the piazza, feverishly, swiftly 

" Oh, see here, mother ! There's nothing to feel that 
way about," said Phil, distinctly aggrieved. " We'll be 
perfectly safe, you know. We'll be kept back of the 
line for ever so long. We'll be perfectly safe. We may 
never have a smell even of real powder. It's just to go 
over with the first that I'm keen about. Do you know, 
France sent over forty thousand troops to fight for us 
besides granting us a corking loan ? To show those dandy 



132 WAR STORIES 

French fellows — and the English too — ^how they've held 
on — that we're with them, and to show those Germans 
that they can't do it^ I tell you! The world won't let 
them. But we'll be safe enough." 

" Oh, my God, my God ! Have I got to choose ? " 
Her agonized mind ran back and forth, here and there, 
like a scared rabbit chased by a pack. " Isn't there any 

way out of it? To send them away to But to deny 

them that splendid thing, that passion for the good out- 
side themselves — it's God-given. Have I the right to 
deny them ? Have I got to do it ? Oh, give me strength — 
I need strength! I'm blind. I can't do anything but 
feel. It's all dark. How can I get through my life ? If 
they're taken I won't be let die this time either. If they 
see I suffer they'll reproach themselves. And I've no 
right to let them feel guilty when it's right that they 
should feel as they do. I — I can't deny the right — but I 
can't live to say it." 

" Don't you think you could get along comfortably 
with the house and the money from The Investment ? " 
Ted's anxious voice was saying. " We've got you to 
think of, you know. We can't go off and chuck our 
salaries if you think you can't get along without them." 

She seized on that one thing she could give up without 
a thought. It was like a straw floating to her on a cur- 
rent of death. 

" Oh, of course I could get along. I've plenty," she 
had on her very lips, when she shut her lips tight. Fool, 
to throw away her one weapon ! Boys that they were, to 
them her agony at giving them up was a weakness. But 
she had only to make them understand that her food, her 
warmth, her comfort depended on them to keep them 
safely at her side, away from all danger. 

She could say it truthfully too. For the letter that had 
disturbed her that morning and been forgotten was from 
Redford, to whom she had written regarding The Invest- 
ment. The safe hoard that her husband had confided in 
for her future was worth not a penny. 

Just how the man, long dead, had so manipulated 
matters as to cheat her unworldly husband she still only 



THE FLAG FACTORY 133 

vaguely understood; or just how there had been a false 
entry by which she had been paying taxes on something 
she did not own. 

But Mr. Redford had investigated and had found, be- 
yond a doubt, that she could never prove a title. Besides 
the house, which she could not eat or drink or clothe her- 
self with if she stayed in it, and two or three hundred in 
the bank, she had nothing. 

All she had to do to keep them safe was to tell them 
that. 

Some buried undercurrent of which she had not been 
conscious suddenly spoke out of her unwilling mouth : 

" Of course I can get along. I have plenty. I'll be 
perfectly comfortable" — it flung out almost contemptu- 
ously. 

They were up as if twin springs had been released. 

" I thought you'd say so, mother," Phil burst out joy- 
ously. " You've always been a good sport. You can't 
imagine how queer some of the fellows' mothers have 
been. I wouldn't have spoken if I hadn't figured it out 
before. Thank you, mother ; you always were the finest 

ever There's Blackburn coming down th^ walk. 

It'll be great to tell him. All right, old fellow ! It's all 
right " 

They were down the steps — down the walk. Their 
voices floated back to her : "All right — all right ! " 

" No, no, I didn't mean that. You didn't understand. 
I meant that didn't matter. I couldn't mean to send you 
out — to be mangled — to come home blind — I can't bear it. 
Nobody could expect a mother to bear it. Phil — Ted — 

you didn't understand — I didn't mean " She seemed 

to be raving like a mad thing. Yet her voice didn't seem 
to go out. It was like a nightmare, where one struggles 
dumbly. 

" Did you call, mother ? " Ted's nervous voice came out 
of the night. " I thought you said something." 

Ted had reprieved her. Suddenly there was silence, 
waiting for her. If she spoke now she would be heard 
like the voice of Destiny. The sons of her body were at 
her mercy. 



134 WAR STORIES 

God alone knows what now spoke in her. But her 
voice, when it came, was calm and strong. There was 
not even a quiver. It said : 

" No, boys, it is all right. I am willing." And then, 
again, unconsciously her sacrifice fell into the formula of 
a nation that, being older, has resigned more : 

"Go! With God!" 
. • . • . . • 

A few weeks later all had been accomplished. The 
boys had gone. The house was rented, the furniture 
stored; Greta, perfectly calm about it all, dismissed; a 
lodging engaged where a slatternly landlady had hoped 
that Mrs. Gerald would be " comfortable." The only 
work that seemed to offer was at the factory. Apparently 
that was the only work a woman of her years and attain- 
ments could do. 

The arrangements were quickly made. The manager 
was a stranger to Bancroft and he showed no surprise 
when she presented herself. He was too busy to be 
either surprised at the type of applicant or exacting; the 
rush of orders was almost swamping them. 

When Mrs. Gerald took her way to the factory, at the 
hour in the morning when Greta had always brought her 
her coffee in bed, she was conscious of nothing except a 
faint but general bodily discomfort. Some ill-mannered 
young persons, whose clothes dispensed a heavy, un- 
pleasant odor of close quarters and personal uncleanness, 
jostled her in their hurry. But that made no difference. 
She was entirely dead and numb and cold to everything. 
It had been a long time since anything had mattered. 

The manager's office opened on the loft where the most 
expensive flags were woven. Listlessly she looked down 
the room. On machine after machine she saw the colors 
repeated and repeated. Red stripes and white stripes 
and dark blue with its many stars — over and over as far 
as the eye could see ; red and white and blue sown with 
white stars. 

All at once, without cause, something sharp thrilled 
through her. It tingled all over her, down her back, to 
the roots of her hair, an ache in her throat, a pain in her 



THE FLAG FACTORY 135 

eyes And oh, the great stir in her numb heart! 

She thrilled to it. She was awake — lifted up. She knew 
all then — what it meant that all round the room she could 
see such strange workmates, the daughters of Bancroft 
families that she had known forever, side by side with 
young Norwegian girls — Slavs — Italians — Greta across 
the room. 

She had not known what things were going on in her 
native town, what crumbling down of affluence, what new 
opportunities for the long abased. She saw it now. 
They were there all together — women with work to do 
and glad to do it, contentedly chattering while they 
waited for the looms to start — all together making their 
country's flags. 

The tears started from her eyes — the blessed first tears, 
bringing such ease ! She could feel it too — that tingling 
uplift that knows no reason. Whatever happened, her 
boys were safe in their country's honor ; and she, serving 
her country too, was with them. Her face illumined, she 
bent over the machine to which she had been assigned and 
took up her task — sewing stars on a field of blue. She 
thought of all the mothers who had given sons to their 
country. Each son given was like a new star on the flag. 
She stitched the little white patches with infinite care and 
love — straight, true and tight. Each was a mother's son, 
safe forever on the flag. 



*Bill 

By Donal Hamilton Haines 

Ballard sat down on a pile of boards in a corner of 
the vast cantonment, bit the end from a cigar, and 
frowned thoughtfully at the hard-packed earth. Any 
one of his acquaintances seeing the great war corre- 
spondent with a cigar between his teeth would have drawn 
immediate conclusions, for Ballard was a queer smoker. 
He used tobacco solely for the sake of aiding mental 
concentration, and appeared to take no pleasure in the 
performance. 

And at the moment Ballard was distinctly perplexed. 
He had run against an obstacle, and on his chosen ground 
he was not used to that experience. He had been with 
BuUer in South Africa, Kuroki in Manchuria, and the 
Bulgars at Adrianople. He was on familiar terms with 
divisional officers in many armies, and usually when his 
way had been barred it had been done by nothing less 
than orders from headquarters. Yet now he was in 
difficulties, and the absurd part of it was that the thing 
had happened here in this huge moiling horde of young 
recruits who had gained the merest inkling of the art 
of war and should have held such creatures as famous 
correspondents in profound awe. 

If some young officer, his judgment warped by his 
new-won sense of responsibility, had made things un- 
comfortable for him, Ballard would simply have smiled 
and waited until the stripling came to his senses. But 
nothing of that sort had occurred. It was simply that 
he could make no headway with the men in the particular 
corner of the great wooden city where he had commenced 

* By permission of 77te Outlook and Donal H. Haines. Copyright, 
19 1 8, by The Outlook Company. 



BILL 137 

his prowlings that were destined to result in a series of 
magazine articles. 

This was what nettled Ballard and set him to puffing 
jerkily at one of the very poor cigars he carried. He 
flattered himself that he knew men — soldiers in par- 
ticular — and that he could make them talk. One of the 
best stories he had ever written had been won after six 
hours of smoky silence from a Boer prisoner who had 
that day seen three sons killed by British shrapnel and 
his farm buildings reduced to a heap of glowing embers. 
And yet these boys, still new to their khaki, still full of 
those mixed feelings which should have made speech a 
relief, answered him in grudging monosyllables. 

" There's nothing wrong with me this morning," mused 
Ballard, as he chewed the end of the cigar. "And I know 
when Fm fit. So it's with them. How can I find it ? " 

He looked up, and saw approaching him, with a pur- 
poseful air, a tall young chap with very fresh-looking 
sergeant's chevrons on his sleeve. Ballard had time to 
note only that the young soldier looked as though he 
would be more at home in tennis flannels or the mole- 
skins of the gridiron than in his uniform. He was also 
aware that he had marked the tall, trim figure during his 
abbreviated tour of investigation. 

" I hate to seem officious, and it's none of my business," 
the young man began abruptly, " but if I were you, sir, I 
wouldn't ask any more questions in D Company lines this 
morning." 

" You wouldn't, eh?" answered Ballard, pleasantly. 
" Do you mind telling me why ? " 

The sergeant, who had evidently been prepared for 
awkwardness, thawed at once under Ballard's geniality. 

" Not in the least," he replied. " You see, we buried 
Bill this morning, and the fellows are pretty well cut up. 
It's the only thing they want to talk about; and when 
you tried to make 'em talk about something else it put 
their backs up, and they turned sulky." 

Ballard threw away his cigar, whose use was at an end. 

" I see," he said. "And I'm grateful to you for telling 
me. Otherwise I might have prowled about, making 



138 WAR STORIES 

D Company extremely uncomfortable, and with small 
profit to myself. But I wonder if you'd care to tell me 
about Bill?" 

** Yes, I surely would." 

" I take it, from what you sav, that he must have been 
a good deal of a man," Ballard suggested. 

The young infantryman sat down on the pile of lum- 
ber, took off his hat and shook his head. 

" No," he said, " I can't say that he was. He was an 
under-sized gas-fitter's helper from South Chicago, and, 
by all odds, the worst soldier in the regiment. But if 
D Company does anything particularly worth doing after 
we get over the other side, it'll be in a great measure 
thanks to Bill, and we all know it." 

Ballard, who was one of those rare men who know 
when not to ask questions although being answered is 
their business in life, merely sat still and waited, and 
presently his companion went on : 

" Bill was just tall enough to get in. Maybe he was 
thick enough when he joined, but the work wore him 
down to about a hundred and nothing. And he was so 
little of a soldier in every way! A perfect square peg. 
Nobody had as much trouble with sore feet, nobody's 
rifle sling and pack straps galled him so, nobody's hip 
got such bumping from the bayonet. And he couldn't 
get drill through his head. All right alone in the awk- 
ward squad at first, but numbers seemed to confuse 
him. 

"And Bill's rifle was to him just nine pounds of in- 
carnate devil. It wasn't a weapon in his hands; it was 
just an awkward club covered with ugly sharp iron 
bumps on which he was always skinning his knuckles, 
and full of a murdering evil spirit when he tried to fire 
it. His score-sheets drove range officers insane and kept 
D Company at the foot of the regiment. 

" He was like that all through too, mind and body alike. 
As a gas-fitter's helper he'd been drawing down nine dol- 
lars a week, and the goal of his earthly ambition was 
getting fifteen a week, so he could marry some girl or 
other." 



BILL 139 

The sergeant paused, and Ballard looked at him curi- 
ously, 

"You've drawn nothing less than a caricature of a 
man," he remarked. " You've sketched precisely the type 
that an army's better off without." 

" I haven't exaggerated a particle," answered the sol- 
dier. " In fact, I could have used deeper lines and still 
given you a faithful picture. Superficially Bill was — 
well, sir, he was the limit. As you say, he was exactly the 
sort of lumber out of which you can't possibly make a 
good soldier. And yet he made D Company." 

" I wonder ! " mused Ballard. " Death's a bit of a 
shock to you chaps, you know, and this poor fellow was 
a pathetic figure. De mortuis nil nisi bonum is a mighty 
powerful shibboleth ! " 
" No," insisted the other, " it isn't that at all." 

Then he hesitated for a moment and scratched a pattern 
in the dirt with the edge of his boot-sole. 

" This sort of talk," he resumed, with some show of 
diffidence, " isn't my line of country at all. What I'm 
going to say is going to be sheer nonsense, perhaps, but 
I'm going to say it just the same." 

" Nothing that is that insistent on getting out of you 
can possibly be nonsense," Ballard assured him. 

" That's comforting, anyhow. Well, all this huge busi- 
ness of war is an awful facer for most of the men here 
in camp. You see, we aren't like the men in the officers' 
training camps. For the most part, they're older. And 
there's a sort of noblesse oblige spirit about those places. 
I'm afraid we haven't got that. We're here because we 
have to be here, and there's no real reason why we should 
have it. There are a lot of us who're here against our 
wills. You can't get away from that sort of thing, you 
know, because we aren't all built alike, by any means. 

" I'm afraid I'm going to make a rotten soldier, to be 
honest with you. I've never wanted to kill things, and 
I don't like firearms, and I've no instincts for the tricks 
of the ugly trade. But I've learned some of the essential 
truths of the business just the same. You see, last fall I 
was playing football, and the two games aren't so dif- 



I40 WAR STORIES 

ferent. It's a question of team play; even more so in 
modem war, I take it, than in football. And team play 
doesn't consist merely in the ability to reel off your whole 
repertory of plays with machine-like smoothness. The 
thing goes a whole lot deeper than that. 

"Two years ago we had a little quarter-back who 
weighed a hundred and eighteen pounds stripped. And 
at least eighteen pounds of that total wasn't physical 
weight at all. He had in him some sort of a thing that 
communicated itself to the other ten men on the team. 
Not this flashy thing we call ' pep ' ; something more vital 
than that, more compelling. Mechanically he wasn't as 
good a quarter-back as two other men. But he was 
worth more to the team than a dozen like them. 

" Well, Bill's been to D Company what that little chap 
was to our team. I can't put my finger on the thing he's 
given us. I don't believe anybody can. I don't believe 
that up to the time we knew Bill was going to die any of 
us quite realized that as a group we owed him any- 
thing." 

"And now you can't pay ? " suggested the older man. 

His companion had recourse again to tracing patterns 
with the edge of his boot. 

"We'll pay, all right," he said; "but I think we'd all 
like to have said so to Bill. I guess you've seen troops 
before, haven't you ? " 

"A good many," admitted Ballard. 

" Well, then, you must know that a company of freshly 
drafted men is a good deal of a mess. About all they've 
got in common is their dislikes and their grievances. 
D Company was no better than the general run. Most of 
us were unwilling and anxious to hide the fact, infernally 
homesick and ashamed of it, bitterly conscious of the jolts 
and wrenches with which we'd had to break off relations 
that meant so much — just about wreck our lives, some of 
us. We represented the Lord only knows how many 
widely separated tastes and instincts, and there was noth- 
ing to pull us together except a great deal of dismally 
hard work. Abstract patriotism doesn't quite answer 
the purpose, does it? If there'd been a German army in 



BILL 141 

the next county we wouldn't have been able to exercise 
all our little pettinesses. But there wasn't; the grim 
thing was most awfully remote, too far off to pull us 
together. 

" That's where Bill came in. He ought to have been 
the worst of the lot of us. Certainly the training was 
harder on him than it was on anybody else in the com- 
pany. Right from the start it began to raise hob with 
him physically. And he was such a hopeless duffer at 
every angle of it that it must have been just as much of a 
torture mentally." 

" Couldn't have been very sensitive on that side," 
Ballard put in. 

" I'm not so sure of that. You find thin skins on queer 
people. Well, wait and see. At first Bill was con- 
spicuous largely because of his desire to make a confidant 
of anybody that would listen to him. And his confi- 
dences weren't particularly worth hearing. Life for 
him was spelled with mighty few letters. His job and 
his girl, that was about the sum total of it. It was a 
nine-dollar job, and he showed us the picture of the girl. 
She looked like the sort who'd do just exactly the thing 
she did. We got pretty well fed up with Bill and his 
conversation. It was just the sort of thing you ran into 
just now; every one of us wanted to talk about his own 
troubles. Nobody else's mattered. So Bill got on our 
nerves until we were ready to choke him. 

"After a bit, though, I think a few of us began to 
notice one difference between Bill and the rest of us. I 
know I did. That was that Bill just talked; he didn't 
complain. He never once said that it was a shame he'd 
had to give up his job, or that it was hell for a man to 
have to go away and leave his girl. He talked about 
them as though they were the biggest things in the world, 
but he went no further. 

" Right on the heels of that I made another discovery. 
Bill was just as willing to listen as he was to talk. I was 
just as full of the importance of my own troubles as any- 
body else, and qne day I talked them out to Bill. I did 
it more in self-defense than anything else, to head off his 



142 WAR STORIES 

endless chatter. Then I found that he wasn't merely 
willing to hear it, he wanted to hear it. And it doesn't 
take long for a bunch of homesick men, full of their own 
natural selfishness, to discover a sympathetic ear — even 
though it's one like Bill's. 

" It wasn't that he had any sound advice to give you, 
or anything like that. Bill's mental capacities weren't 
great. But he had a way of listening to you that made 
you know he was sorry and wished no end that he could 
help. And that's really all a man wants, because nobody 
can actually help him. 

"At the end of a week we'd got all through laughing 
at his awkwardness and swearing at his talkativeness. 
Nobody really liked him. It was more like having a poor 
no-account yellow dog around to wag his tail at you 
when you were lonely. 

" Of course it isn't possible for me to say whether any 
of the rest of the men in the company thought about Bill 
in the same way I did, but I imagine they did. At first 
I sort of envied him. He'd given up so much less than 
I had. The cantonment seemed an infinitely better place 
than what he'd left. -No wonder he was cheerful and un- 
complaining. Then I saw that was just being sorry for 
myself, which is poor business. The minute I began to 
think about it fairly it was clear enough. Bill's sacrifice 
was bigger than mine. That picture of the poor girl in 
her cheap finery meant infinitely more to him than all my 
sacrifices did to me. 

" When a thought like that hits you all at once with 
the force of a club, it makes you go right on thinking. 
The minute I was conscious of the difference between 
Bill and me I wanted to know the reason for it. Was 
Bill Hicks so much the better man of the two? Were 
all my obvious points of superiority worth nothing when 
it came right down to weighing the real worth of the 
two of us? 

" There was just one way I could get at the answer. I 
asked Bill the straight question. Why hadn't he married 
the girl and got out of coming? He just looked at me 
and blinked. 



BILL 143 

" * Why, how could I ? ' he demanded. 

" That's all. There was no other word spoken between 
us on the subject. And if you can't hear him asking 
that question and see the expression of blank amaze- 
ment on his face I can't make it any clearer. But I had 
my answer." 

" Yes/' observed Ballard, " I can see that you had." 

" It was two or three days after this that Bill got his 
letter. He came to me with it because I suppose I had 
talked to him a little more than any of the other men in 
the squad. I knew when I saw him that he was no 
better than a dead man. As I say, the work had been 
pulling him down frightfully, but what it had done was 
nothing compared to the work of that letter. He looked 
smaller, shriveled, and yet his face was splendid — Bill's 
peaked, pale, weak-chinned face. Because in it, you 
know, was death, and at the same time something that 
was bigger and stronger than death. 

" * She's gone and married^ Steve ! ' he told me. 

" For an instant I didn't understand. I'd forgotten 
who Steve was. 

" ' What? ' I asked, foolishly. 

" * Gertie,' he explained. * She's wrote me that she 
guessed she wouldn't wait, and so she's married Steve. 
He was gettin' eighteen per and a good chance of a raise.' 

" What in blazes could I say? If a blow like that had 
crashed into me, I should have gone all to bits or else 
covered the thing with a Byronic sham heroism. And 
yet there was Bill, with the iron in his soul, never think- 
ing of the girl's shallow heartlessness, never complaining 
of his own loss, just measuring Steve's sure eighteen 
'per' against his hypothetical fifteen! God! you don't 
run into magnificent things like that very often! 

" Fortunately, I had the sense not to insult him with 
sympathy he was too big to need. I just let him talk. 
He didn't even say much. Just told me a little about 
Steve and what a straight sort of a chap he was, and how 
Gertie would probably be much better oflF than if she'd 
waited for him. And I sat there trying to swallow and 
watching that face. 



144 WAR STORIES 

"At the end of it, though, he almost did for me. He 
folded the letter and put it away in the pocket where he 
always carried her picture, and then stood there for a 
second looking horribly old and frail in his bagging 
clothes. 

" ' Well,' he said, smiling, * I won't have very much to 
think about now. Maybe I'll get on better with the drill 
and the shooting.' 

" Next day — that was a week ago— he went to the 
hospital, and, you bet, before night most of the regi- 
ment knew about Bill's letter and what he had said to 
me. The colonel went to see him every day, and one of 
D Company's officers was there most of the time. And 
this morning we buried him." 

He stopped abruptly, stood up, and hitched up his 
belt with an air of finality. 

" I hope you see," he said, " why I thought you'd better 
not ask questions in the company lines to-day." 

" I do," replied Ballard,* and held out his hand, his 
eyes very eloquent as they traveled over the other's 
straight, trim figure and earnest face. "And, anyhow," 
he added, " there won't be any need of asking questions. 
You've given me all I came to learn — and more." 



* Behind the Door 

By Gouverneur Morris 

I couldn't sleep for a cent. I was either wide awake 
and worrying about things that weren't of the slightest 
importance, or else I was ridden by nightmares. This 
was natural enough, but mighty unpleasant. Tavish, 
the mate, was having a bad night, too. Sometimes, when 
we were both awake at the same time, we talked. 

" Damnation," said Tavish once, " you might know 
that soon or late the German streak would crop out in 
him ; never showed a sign of it before, though." 

" Blood's a thick thing," I answered. " Personally, 
though, I didn't want to see the man drown. And I'd 
started to turn away when the skipper jumped — how 
high is the bridge above sea level ? " 

" A good thirty-five feet." 

" In or out of the movies," I said, " I never saw a 
finer rescue." 

" Oh, that part was all right. What gets my goat 
is the way the skipper coddled the brute when he got 
him aboard; puts hirii in his own bed, has blankets and 
grog heated special. That torpedo didn't much more 
than get by." 

Tavish shivered as if he were cold. I could hear him. 
" I suppose," I said, " that when you've saved a man's 
life you can't help kind of softening toward that man — 
but what a peach of a shot Ryan made! First crack 
right out of the box! I suppose they felt so sure the 
torpedo would get home that they came up. Idiots ! " 

" How does Captain Krug know," said Tavish, " that 
the German commander — what is he, a lieutenant? — 

*By permission of McClure's and Gouverneur Morris. Copyright, 
1918, by McClure Publications Inc. 

MS 



146 WAR STORIES 

hasn't murdered women and children ? By Gawd, I 
think it's sickening, and I'll tell him so." 

" I won't go as far as that," I said, " but it sickens me, 
too." 

Tavish got up, stepped into his sea boots, and went 
out. I think I dozed off, but I was awake when he came 
back. 

"All serene?" I asked. 

" Yep." 

He kicked off his boots and lay down. 

" I keep dreaming that I hear something groaning," 
I said. 

" Something groaning? That's just what I thought 
I heard. That's why I went out just now. It's the ship, 
I guess. All old ships make spooky noises at times. 
The Robert E. Prith seems to be a groaner. Did you 
hear that ? . . . " 

. " That wasn't the ship, Tavish. • . . I'll go this 
time." 

I had my legs over the bunk and was feeling round 
for my boots, when the groan was repeated. It was 
the groan of something in awful pain, but too sick to 
make much noise. It didn't seem to come from any 
particular direction. 

I listened at Captain Krug's door, and then went on 
deck. The whole sky was on the move, wet clearing- 
clouds ripping and tearing across the face of the moon. 
Rags and shreds of the scudding clouds had been 
caught on the sharp top of Gibraltar. The little bay 
held at least a hundred ships of all descriptions. I 
could make out the camouflaging on the one nearest us. 
She was painted to look like a Nude falling down a stair. 

The wind came in gusts — soft and wet. I prowled 
about for a while, listening; but the groan wasn't re- 
peated. 

" Nothing doing, Tavish. I guess it's our nerves. 
You don't dodge all the subs in the Mediterranean for 
nine days and nights, without feeling the striain some- 
where. Goo'-night, again." 

" Good-night to you," said Tavish. 



BEHIND THE DOOR 147 

It was anything but ! 

We made a light after a while, and played fan-tan, 
and nipped into a flask of whiskey that I had bought in 
Genoa. 

We heard a door shut, and then some one knocked on 
ours. It was the skipper himself. 

Captain Krug looked white and drawn. 

" I saw your light," he explained, " and knew you 
must be awake. Come and visit with me. I'm going 
to boil coffee." 

Captain Krug had swell quarters. A little sitting- 
room with a shelf of books and an easy-chair and a 
sofa; and a thing with lots of drawers for his clothes. 
Beyond was his bedroom; he had an iron bed instead 
of the usual bunk; and beyond this, mighty cramped, 
but a big asset, was a jog like a sentry-box in which he 
had set up a first-rate shower-bath. ^ 

" Smoke up," said the skipper, " and make yourselves 
at home." 

In the middle of the table, very nicely stuffed and 
mounted, was a fine specimen of black-breasted plover. 
Captain Krug was very proud of it. And when you 
were invited to his cabin you always admired it. 

" With a little teaching and practice," he said, " I 
could have made a living mounting birds and beasts. 
I did a real good bald eagle once, but this fellow is my 
Cheff Dover. In 1916 I came pretty close to leaving 
the sea and taking up my old hobby seriously." 

He moved his masterpiece to the top of the book-shelf 
and replaced it by a small boiler and spirit lamp arrange- 
ment. 

" Your shower's leaking again," said Tavish. 

The door into the bedroom was ajar. Captain Krug 
pulled it to, very gently. 

" I don't believe a cannon would wake him," he ex- 
plained, " but I don't want to take any chances." With 
the complete closing of the door, the steady dripping 
sound to which Tavish had called attention was cut off. 

" He sleeps like a lamb," said Tavish. " I supposed 
that all Germans snored." 



148 WAR STORIES 

" Not Lieutenant Brant," said Captain Krug. " He 
used to, I believe; but he had an operation to fix his 
breathing." 

" Then you knew him before ? " 

"Yes. And I recognized him. That's why I went 
overboard after him. I wouldn't have done it for any 
other Boche — and don't forget it." 

" He nearly blew us to Hell and gone." 

" I know ; but " Here Captain Krug had to give 

his attention to the spirit lamp. 

" He didn't recognize me at first," said he, when he 
had checked the incendiary ambition of the pale flame. 
" I guess it's my beard. I used to shave smooth." 

Tavish and I were side by side on the sofa. The 
skipper's head being turned away for the moment, 
Tavish nudged me and pointed to the skipper's hands. 
But I hadinoticed for myself; they were shaking and 
jumping the way hands do when their muscles are very 
tired or after their owner has had a very, very bad night 
and his liquor, as we Americans say, has died on 
him. 

" Hadn't shaved for some days, though, when I met 
with Brant, and I haven't shaved since. First trip I 
made in these waters was in a tanker — the gas caught 
fire just as we steamed into Genoa harbor — you can see 
all that's left of the old Halcyon on the rocks off Quarto. 
I started back for New York on an English liner, the 
Bristol, traveling first-class; paid the difference out of 
my own pocket. There was a mighty sweet little girl 
on that ship, a mighty sweet little girl. Her folks were 
New England and she'd been let to study in Milan. She 
had a beautiful voice — I thought. But it seems it wasn't 
big enough for grand opera, and never would be. So 
she was going back home. It was the way she took 
her disappointment that got me. There wasn't anything 
in her heart or mind that wasn't sweet and sure. She 
couldn't be a star? Well and good! She'd be some- 
thing else ; and she'd put her whole soul into it. 

" We made a mighty cautious run to Gib. We put 
into Toulon and stayed all day, and all day in Marseilles, 



BEHIND THE DOOR 149 

and we had so many boat drills that I got nervous my- 
self. Then you could tell from the fitful way the electric 
lights burned how busy the wireless was — we'd hear that 
subs had been sighted here and there ; that the So-and-so 
was being chased; that the Thingumy had got hers and 
gone to the bottom. She and I were assigned to go away 
in the same boat — No. 5 on the port side, and it was at 
the first drill that I made her acquaintance. She had the 
shoulder-straps of her life belt too long, and I told her, 
begging her pardon, that if she went overboard that way 
she was liable to float feet up instead of head up, and I 
took a hitch in the straps and fixed her right. 

" After that we played around together a lot. And 
I wouldn't wonder if we made the submarines an excuse 
for sitting up more than half the night. She was the 
, friendliest little girl I ever saw " t 

" Was she pretty. Captain ? " I asked. 

" Pretty ? She was better than pretty. She had char- 
acter in her face. I think the key-note of her character 
was faithfulness. I've never seen another human being 
who had the same look that she had in her eyes — some- 
times I've seen it come into a dog's eyes. 

" She wasn't one of your delicate doll girls, but a 
sturdy, smooth moving little thing — in a big white 
sweater she wore, she had sort of a boy look to her. 

" We'd lean against the rail for hours and watch the 
coast slip by. And we got hold of a book that told 
about lots of the places. We put in one whole day off 
Rosas on the Bay of Rosas — Roses on the Bay of Roses — 
and she got her mind set on coming back some day 
and taking the white road that led from the little town 
to the big hills. * To Roses on the Bay of Roses — and 
beyond — by the straight road/ that's the way she put 
it. It was the straightness of that road got her — it hadn't 
a kink or a turn. 'And beyond,' she'd say, 'by the straight 
road to the Spanish castle in the hills.' I'd pretend to 
look real hard at the hills and study over 'em, and I'd say, 
'Are these things hills — these blue billowy things ? ' And 
then she'd look and pretend she was studying them over 
again to make sure — and she'd say, * Why, no — they're 



ISO WAR STORIES 

clouds ! ' And then : * By the straight road to the Span- 
ish castle in the clouds ! ' 

"And I'd say: 'What color is the lining?' And 
she'd say : * Silver — they're lined with silver/ 

*' You know a day's a long time. We fooled a lot 
about that straight road ; but we always came back to the 
line of talk I've given you. It got to be a sort of re- 
f rain. Sometimes she said the things I've said she said, 
and sometimes / said 'em. Even when we pulled out 
of the Bay of Roses we kept it up. She'd say, 'And 
beyond?' And I'd answer, * In the clouds!' Or I'd 
say, ' How about a Spanish castle in the hills ! ' and 
she's say, * It would be nicer in the clouds if they had the 
right kind of lining.' Sometimes I'd pull a silver coin 
out of my pocket and say, * What is it ? ' And she'd say, 
* It looks to me like a piece of lining.' " 

It was a good tin of ship's coffee the Captain had 
brewed. Strong stuff; with sugar and condensed milk 
it went down fine, warmed the lining of your stomach 
and took the jump out of your nerves. We had two 
cups apiece with some biscuits. Krug had a queer way 
of getting his coffee into him. He bent his head close to 
the cup and used both hands. Possibly he couldn't trust 
them to carry the cup a longer journey. 

" Maybe," said he all of a sudden, " you think me too 
old to be skylarking with a young girl. Well, I'm short 
of thirty. It was losing her and the way of it that made 
me look the way I do. 

" No need for me to tell you about the territorial waters 
of Spain. A ship is just as safe inside the three-mile 
limit as she is outside of it. We ought to know — we 
three ! One night of a fierce offshore wind that blew the 
water flat we got ours; got it just abaft the engine-room 
and began to sink fast. Nobody saw the sub. All you 
could see was the looming Spanish mountains, close to 
starboard, and the lights of a town. 

"The English behaved splendidly; the officers cool, 
insolent and helpful. And it was nobody's fault that 
when it came to lowering away the Number' Five boat, 
the bow tackle broke, so that she dropped from the hor- 



BEHIND THE DOOR 151 

izontal to the perpendicular and spoiled her whole con- 
tents, sailors, men, women, children, oars, masts into 
the sea, and then came diving down into the mess nose 
first. When I came to the surface she was the first thing 
I made out; and the next was my girl clinging to her 
and calling me by name — not wild and frightened, but 
clear and distinct — to show me where she was. 

" I was alongside in a few strokes, and once I'd climbed 
into No. 5 I reached down and got Alice under the arms 
and pulled her in, too. I could feel her heart beating 
against my hands, strong and quick, but not frightened. 
The wind had carried us clear of the ship, and a good 
piece offshore. There was nothing to do about it; oars 
and sails all lost over — everything out of the boat except 
Alice and me and the water she'd shipped — just enough 
to wash around. So we rode high and light and made 
tracks for the middle of the Mediterranean where the 
wind had free scope and the seas were rugged. 

" We didn't say much about the other people. I was 
happy, I guess. .It was wonderful to be alone with her 
in the boat. It had made the last lap of courtship so short 
and easy. I just had to reach for her and she came 
right into my arms and against my side as if she'd prac- 
tised doing just that. I kissed her wet salty face all over, 
and patted it with my free hand. It wouldn't matter 
what happened. If we both had to die^ well and good. 
We were living! 

" But we borrowed no trouble about death. We looked 
straight ahead to what must He beyond our danger. She 
said she couldn't have me going to sea and leaving her 
for months at a time. Wasn't there some way I could 
make a living ashore? And then I told her how I'd 
used to mount birds and beasts when I was a boy, and had 
a real knack for it, and had always wanted to set up shop 
as a taxidermist. 

" We planned how we'd go to live in Bangor or maybe 
some other big base for hunters going into the woods, 
and get their specimens to mount when they came out. 
And we planned what kind of a house we'd have and 
how Alice could give singing lessons. 



152 WAR STORIES 

" I never put in such a happy night. And the happiest 
part for me was toward dawn when she got sleepy like 
a little child and cuddled against me and hid her eyes 
from the light. 

" We were like that when the U-98 bumped suddenly 
out of the sea right across our path — all wet and satiny 
like a big fish. She tried to get between us and the 
wind, and then bore down on us swinging, passed close, 
running very slow, and laid us alongside with a boat- 
hook, rd waked Alice and told her not to be afraid. 

" I'm of German descent, my name is German and 
I'd been slow to believe anything against the Germans. 
I looked at that submarine with the same gratitude that 
I'd have looked at an American ship come to pick us up. 
The commanding officer had come on deck and I spoke 
to him in German. 

" He had steps lowered, and though it wasn't easy or 
safe, because of the sea, I managed to get Alice aboard 
them, when one of the Germans caught her by the arm 
and steadied her. At the same second the sub began to 
move, and the man with the boat-hook gave the No. 5 
life-boat a powerful shove. 

" I was so taken aback that I just stood with my mouth 
open. Then Alice turned and saw what had happened, 
and she made a break to Jump overboard and swim to me. 
But the commanding officer caught her round the waist 
and held her." 

Captain Krug paused and drew a shaking hand across 
his eyes as if to shut out something from his sight. 

" The last I saw — she was fighting against them like 
a wildcat, and they were laughing — I could hear 'em — and 
forcing her down through the hatch. I was shaking my 
fists and yelling like a madman. Then the hatch closed 
and the sub began to go under. ... I guess I would 
have thrown myself into the sea, if No. 5 hadn't given a 
sudden lurch that yanked me off my balance so that I fell 
hard and something merciful knocked me senseless. 

" So yesterday when I looked down and saw the com- 
mander of the U-98 as good as drowned, you can bet I 
jumped to save him." 



BEHIND THE DOOP 153 

Tavish jerked his thumb toward the bedroom door. 

" You mean to say Lieutenant Brant is the same man 
that " 

" Exactly," said Captain Krug. " It wouldn't do to let 
such a specimen of Kultur drown. So I took a big 
chance — but I guess God helped me — and went overboard 
for him. I was afraid he might recognize me, but he 
didn't, not at first. You see, I've grown a beard since 
he saw me, and I look a good many years older-r-hun- 
dreds of years. 

" You'll be wondering how I could keep down what I 
felt and treat him like a long-lost brother. It wasn't 
easy ; but I did it. I just managed. You see, I had an 
axe to grind. I had to be very sure, before I did what 
I'd sworn to do if I ever caught him. To know what it 
seemed to me I had to know — definitely — I had to win his 
confidence. It wasn't easy; but when he was dry and 
warm and had had some hot drinks I told him I was 
damned sorry I'd had to sink him, that already I'd let one 
sub go, that the crew was very American and inclined to 
be mutinous, and that either I had to sink him if I could, 
or else all chances for me to serve the Fatherland in the 
future were knocked into a cocked hat. I lied and lied 
to him and told him dozens of things I'd been mixed in 
to help the Fatherland. And what with the liquor, we got 
mighty friendly and began to swap yarns, and I led him to 
talk about women . . . and I said how life aboard a 
submarine cut off from all that sort of thing must be per- 
fect Hell. . . . And he winked and said how it 
wasn't always as bad as it might seem — and that some- 
times after you'd sunk a ship you'd find mermaids float- 
ing round in the water. . . . ' Life's cramped aboard 
a submarine,' he said ; * everything is fitted into her like 
the works into a watch-case, but there's always room for 
a pretty woman or two — always room and welcome.' 

"At last I got what I had to hear. After he had tired 
of her my Alice hadn't lived very long. You see, the 
U-98 was one of the very latest class and carried a big 
crew. 

" When I'd heard that I got up as if to stretch my legs. 



154 WAR STORIES 

His head was forward and his jaw loose. I hit for all I 
was worth. You know my little shower-bath arrange- 
ment. . . . Well, when Lieutenant Brant came to, 
he was hanging by the hands to the sprinkler and his feet 
were tied to the grating that drains off the water . . . 
while I cut his clothes off I told him who I was. 

"' You wouldn't remember,' I said, * but you had fair 
warning. I told you what I'd do to you if I ever caught 
you, and now I've caught you, and I'm going to do 
it. . . . But you needn't be nervous. I know I'm 
out of practise, but I used to be quite expert — and it's 
sure to come back to me, because this is a job I can put 
my whole heart into.' . . . Then I got to work. He 
was pretty well gagged or you'd have heard him. . . ." 

Tavish, with a kind of grunt of horror, jumped up and 
flung open the bedroom door. The room was empty. 
Then he pushed open the door into the shower-bath and 
his head came back as if he had been hit between the eyes. 

Over Tavish's shoulder I saw it, too. It looked like an 
anatomical model for a medical museum — a model to 
show the muscular system of the human body — executed 
in a clear and glistening pink enamel. 

I clutched Tavish for support. We leaned against each 
other — and like something far off in a dream we heard 
Captain Krug's voice. 

" I told him," he said, " that if I ever caught him I'd 
skin him alive; but he died before I'd finished. . . . 
Damn him ! " 



*The Unsent Letter 

By Gouverneur Morris 

He wore the uniform of a major; but the Red Cross 
band on his sleeve, the stoop of his shoulders, and the fact 
that he did not stand with his feet at right angles to each 
other proved that he was nothing of the kind. The uni- 
form was his by courtesy of the War Department. It 
helped him to get swift access to the dead, and to those 
who could tell him how they had died. 

The War Department had not wished to give him the 
uniform or any other privileges whatever. "If you want 
to serve," the War Department had said, " why don't you 
fight ? " The War Department had said this not only 
with reference to Locksley but to the nineteen other 
young men for whom the Red Cross had asked uniforms 
and privileges. 

" What's the idea, anyhow ? " the War Department had 
said. And the Red Cross, a Harvard graduate with very 
much better manners than the War Department, had 
patiently explained : 

"When a man is killed, one of our men will find out 
just how he died, and will write the facts to the man's 
mother or some member of his family, and make them 
just as comforting as he can. The men we want to send 
will all be trained writers " 

" Why don't they fight ? " interrupted the War Depart- 
ment. " I can send out the death-notices. I can send 
out ten thousand in a night." 

" Did you ever read the letter that Lincoln wrote to the 
mother who had lost her boys ? That is the ideal our men 
will have before them. The other extreme is the cold- 

♦ By permission of Cosmopolitan and Gouverneur Morris. Copyright, 
19 1 8, by International Magazine Co. 

155 



156 WAR STORIES 

blooded and brutal notification which the department 
sends out. What our men succeed in doing will be some- 
where in between. You merely tell a mother that her 
boy is dead. You don't tell her that he was going for- 
ward over the ditch when the bullet caught him, or that 
he was trying to rescue a friend, or that he spoke of his 
mother while he was dying. You don't do anything to 
soften the blow or make the mother proud. You simply 
give her a smack between the eyes and call it efficiency." 

Much pressure had to be brought on the War Depart- 
ment before he saw the light. And it is doubtful if he 
ever did see it. He learned that the British Red Cross 
had such a system, and that the whole army and the whole 
of England swore by it, and finally, though grudgingly 
and calling himself a soft-hearted fool (under his breath), 
he granted the uniforms and the privileges. 

Locksley had been at the front for three months. 
During the lulls to which the battle, which for years now 
has been going on between the North Sea and the Swiss 
border, is fortunately subject, he wrote fiction, and type- 
wrote it, and posted three copies (the first story he sent 
was blown up by a submarine and after that he always 
sent three at intervals, so that one would surely reach 
the publishers), and supported his wife and their two 
children. 

His wife and their children were Locksley's answer to 
the question : " Why don't you fight ? " And they were 
the reason why he kept out of danger whenever it was 
decent to do so, and why he nursed his health and prayed 
that the war would end before a splinter of shell got him. 

He had figured that after battles he could find out, in 
complete safety, who was dead, who was wounded, and 
who was living, that from the survivors he could get the 
details, that, whenever it was practical, he could see the 
wounded for himself, and that afterward, at some well- 
lighted table in some old French chateau, he would piece 
together the notes that he had taken and write his letters. 

Things had turned out very differently. One 'of the 
first twenty to be sent out, he had now many men under 
him, one or two to every thousand soldiers, and in addi- 



THE UNSENT LETTER 157 

tion to his field-duties and his desk-duties and his duty 
to his family, he had many others. They were of an 
executive nature. If some part of the line had hit hard 
or been hit hard, he had to gather his investigators and 
writers and find transport for them and concentrate them 
upon that part of the line, and, though he wasn't a real 
major, he had as much work to do as any of the real 
majors, and, because of the mobile nature of his job, saw 
more fighting than any of them, and was quite as often 
under fire. 

He hadn't supposed that he would be called upon to 
do first-aid work or stretcher work, to squirt morphine 
and antitoxin into the wounded, and to help carry them 
out of the iron rain in which they were so inconsiderate 
as to be lying. He hadn't supposed that, in volunteering 
to help the Red Cross, he was risking his life as much as, 
and perhaps more than, the average soldier. If he had 
supposed any such thing, he would never have volun- 
teered. It would have been the height of selfishness. 
But there was no turning back. 

" I'm here under false pretensions," he often thought, 
"but I'm too good a coward to back out now. I'd be 
Cain-marked for life. The magazines would no longer 
buy my fiction, and my family would just be as unsup- 
ported as if I got killed. And they'd rather starve be- 
cause I was dead than because they were ashamed to bear 
my name." 

Sometimes it made him proud to think how many 
letters he had written to mothers whose boys had been 
killed or hurt. He had put all that was best in him into 
those letters. He had tried to make the mother's sacrifice 
seem beautiful to her. And such was his love of mother- 
hood that twice he had swallowed his hatred of the Ger- 
mans and written to two German mothers to tell them (in 
very bad German) how splendidly their boys had died. 

These letters had been difficult to deliver ; but the gen- 
eral having given permission, Locksley had slipped them 
into empty bottles, and Corporal Fagan (a major-leaguer 
in his day) had taken the bottles by the neck and thrown 
them with perfect accuracy into the nearest stretch of 



158 WAR STORIES 

German trench. Usually when Fagan threw things into 
that trench, the things exploded, and sometimes the frag- 
ments hurt enemies, and the enemies threw explosive 
things back. But, on the present occasion, after a dis- 
creet interval, nothing more dangerous was returned than 
one of the bottles. It contained a slip 6i paper on which 
some one had written, "Danke schon." 

The work fascinated Locksley when it did not appall 
him. He felt that it had brought him out of a deep shell 
into which he had half retired. There was no pleasant 
chateau to live in. Life was dour and without amenities. 
His fine sensibilities were often on edge. He waged 
steady warfare on fleas and lice. And there was never 
a day when he could have said, " Behold me ; I am clean 
from head to foot ! " But although he had loved, mar- 
ried, begotten children, and seen them born, he felt that 
now he was really living for the first time. 

During the hour which precedes and the hour which 
follows daybreak, there had been a short, sharp advance 
over a shell-hilled terrace. The regiment which had been 
chiefly involved was consolidating its gains, and Locksley 
was on hand, running more risks than he liked, and help- 
ing to locate the dead and the wounded. 

It was a terrane full of pits and subterranes. The Ger- 
mans had moled it up and down and crisscross. Out of 
their sheltered holes and wallows, it had been necessary 
to blast and prick them. During the process, certain 
shelter roofs had collapsed, destroying friend and enemy 
together. In areas the caved-in labyrinth would have to 
be explored by the Engineer Corps if it was to be ex- 
plored at all. But there were other areas (from some of 
which groans issued) which could be explored by men 
with electric torches and very flat stomachs. 

It was rather like pretending that you were a fox (on 
a large scale, of course) and that you lived in a lair that 
had an unusual number of exits and entrances and secret 
chambers. 

From one of the entrances to such a place, Locksley 
saw emerging, with powerful twists of his big body. 
Private Strong. There followed Private Strong into the 



THE UNSENT LETTER 159 

daybreak certain groanings and bleatings that sounded 
un-American in Locksley's ears. 

"I was just goin' to stick him, sir," said- Private Strong, 
" when the roof caved in and laid him by the hind legs, 
and now I suppose we got to try and pry him loose. I 
couldn't manage alone, but if you'll lend a hand, sir '* 

" Of course," said Locksley. "After you." 

Private Strong turned, drew a big breath, and crawled 
back into the burrow. As soon as there was no danger 
of being kicked in the face by the soldier's heavy hob- 
nailed boots, Locksley knelt and followed. 

The electric torch showed him circles of concrete, of 
raw earth, of wooden trestlework, a German head caught 
between two beams and mashed almost flat. As he 
passed, he could feel the drip from the thing on his 
shoulder. After fifteen feet, the passage widened and 
you could kneel upright. A moment later. Private Strong, 
who was six feet three, rose to his full height and said : 

"All right, Dutch ; we've come for you." 

He took the torch from Locksley and directed the 
beam upon the head, then the shoulder, and then the torso 
of a German officer lying face down, arms extended. 
The light next revealed the eight-by-four timber which 
had pinned the man to the ground. His legs were con- 
cealed by a foot of earth and broken concrete. He made 
sounds that were somewhere between groaning and bleat- 
ing. 

" That timber seems part of a framework, sir," said 
Strong. ** When I get my back under this beam over 
here and lift, his beam lifts, too. But I couldn't lift and 
pull him loose at the same time, and that's why I need 
you. Now, sir, if you'll get him by the arms and pull 
when I give the word " 

" I get you," said Locksley shortly. 

It all happened very suddenly. The whole burrow was 
shaken as a rat is shaken by a terrier. And Locksley, 
opening his eyes, remembered very distinctly that a giant 
had thrown him flat on his face and at the moment was 
sitting on his legs to keep him down. 

That thing in his left hand was not, as he had at first 



i6o WAR STORIES 

thought, a banana which he had tried to steal from the 
giant's table, but an electric torch. Intuitively, his thumb 
pushed the switch forward, and there was light. 

" Y' all right? " It was the voice (but not the natural 
voice) of Private Strong. It was a strained, worried 
voice. 

"All right, but can't get up," said Locksley. "He's 
sitting on my legs." 

" It's more roof fallen in," said Strong. " What'd ya 
put the light out for ? " , , 

" Guess my fingers did it without my knowing." Locks- 
ley's brain was clearing. 

" Flash her round." 

Private Strong did not seem to have moved. Legs 
bent, he was still straining upward against the great 
beam which rested on his shoulders. And something in 
his face and eye and something in the quivering of his 
great muscles seemed to say that he had been so straining 
for a long time. 

The German officer no longer groaned or bleated. Or, 
if he did, the earth and concrete under which he was 
buried completely muffled the sound. Locksley managed 
to look over his shoulder for his legs, but they were too 
well buried to be seen. He tried desperately to move 
them. 

" I'm stuck," he said feebly ; " stuck tight." 

He raised himself on his elbows and looked over his 
other shoulder and searched with the torch for the tunnel 
by which they had entered. That, at least, was un- 
changed. It was still a tunnel, and, so far as the light 
penetrated, the roof had not fallen. 

" You must dig me out. Strong," he said. 

"If I give," said Strong, " the whole roof comes 
down." 

" What happened ? " Locksley asked. 

The answer came in a series of grunts. 

"A shell, somewhere up above, started 'nuther cave-in. 
That's all." A moment later, he added, " Dutch got his." 

Locksley tried to think and couldn't. 

" Is it very heavy ? " he asked. 



THE UNSENT LETTER i6i 



" It sure is." 
" But " 



Locksley did not finish his sentence. The full extent 
of their calamity had, for the first time, dawned upon 
him. The moment the strength of Private Strong proved 
unequal to the weight that was imposed upon it, they 
would be buried alive. He felt for the moment as if he 
was falling through space. There was a rushing in his 
ears and confusion. The torch slipped from his fingers 
and he groaned. 

"Hurt?" 

His brain cleared and began to work. 

" Nope," he said curtly. He recovered the torch and 
had a look at Private Strong. The bent legs, the bent 
back pressing upward were splendid to see — the thick, 
foreshortened face of which the expression was stubborn 
and angry. 

" How long can you hold out ? " asked Locksley. 

" Dunno." 

There was something which Locksley felt that he had 
to say. The saying of it would be a proof to him that 
he had done his duty by manhood and by civilization. 
But, for a few long moments, self-pity made him in- 
articulate. 

He was surprised at the sound of his own voice ; it was 
so natural and conversational. The fact comforted him 
so that speaking was no longer an eifort. 

" Strong," he said, " I'll turn the light over the ground 
between you and the tunnel. Then I'll hold it square on 
the tunnel. The roof won't fall like lightning, and if you 
are quick and don't trip over anything, you've an even 
chance of getting out of here." 

The eyes in the strained, stubborn, angry face of the 
private followed the beam of light, but with no great 
show of interest. He shifted one of his feet a little, with 
a kind of grinding, heel-and-toe, sidewise twist. Then 
he grunted : 

" How about you ? " 

" You'll get hold of a bunch of sappers and dig me out. 
I shouldn't wonder if I came through all right/ 



i62 WAR STORIES 

He spoke in a smooth, confident voice, which deceived 
no one. 

" Not a chance," said Private Strong. 

There was a dead silence. 

"What " said Locksley petulantly, "what is the 

use of both of us getting killed? " 

" No use 't I can see." 

" You've got a chance — ^you ought to take it." 

" Both got a chance — can* hold roof up." 

More long moments of silence followed, during which 
Locksley felt a curious warming of the heart and a 
detachment from the ultimate horror of his fate. 

He got a scratch-pad out of his pocket and some pen- 
cils, raised himself on his elbows, arranged the torch 
so that it illuminated the pad, and began to write. 

" Whad ye doin' ? " 

"Attending to business," said Locksley. "If they ever 
dig us out and find what I've written, your mother will 
know how you took yours when it came." 

Private Strong felt a dimness spreading over his eyes. 
He snuffled once strongly. 
. The pencil scratched boldly, almost merrily. 

" Wha' y' keep lookin' at me for? " 

" I'm making a rough sketch — to show the fix we're 
in. It'll be easier to understand." 

A moment later, he had begun to write : 

To THE Mother of Private Strong. Dear Mrs. Strong : 

Then, with the aid of his littered and numbered sketch, 
he explained the situation. He went on : 

The first time I noticed your big boy was about six weeks 
ago. His company had done its turn in the trenches and was 
resting up. I noticed Joe because he was so very big, and 
because the little girl he was riding on his shoulders was so 
very little. 

About a week later, I came across him cleaning his rifle. 
You might have thought it was a diamond ring that he was 
going to give to his sweetheart. A good soldier loves his 
rifle. You ought to know that Joe is one of the best soldiers 
in the army. And most everybody thinks he is the strongest. 



THE UNSENT LETTER 163 

It must be fine to have him alongside of you in a fight. You 
simply couldn't be afraid. 

He's as gentle as he is brave. I've seen him helping an old 
French woman put her little garden in order, after a shell had 
dropped into it and tossed most of the early vegetables over 
the garden wall. He didn't know much about gardening, and 
the old woman was very severe with him. He pretended to 
be very much frightened, but all the time he was laughing 
up his sleeve. 

No use, I suppose, telling you that he's a daredevil. There's 
nobody quicker to volunteer for trench-raiding or going out 
at night to cut wires. But one man can't fight a whole war. 
It ought to comfort you to know that Joe hasn't been a vain 
sacrifice. When you kissed Joe good-bye, you weren't kissing 
any ordinary boy. You were kissing a boy who was going 
to do a whole lot more than his share. 

There aren't many quitters in the army and everybody has 
done the best he could; but there are soldiers and soldiers. 
And Joe is one of those with a wonderful natural talent for 
war. If we had half a million like him, I think we'd have 
reached Berlin about yesterday. 

I stole a look at him just now. He looks like a wonderful 
statue by Michelangelo. The muscles of his thighs and 
shoulders are almost bursting his clothes. I never saw him 
look so big or so splendid. I asked him to save himself, but 
he wouldn't. So he is giving his life, not to save me, but that 
I can live a little longer. You must not hate my memory. 
I don't really come into it at all. He's the kind of man who 
has to die for some one — for some one who is helpless, just 
as I am, and not much account anyway 

Locksley paused. 

" What you thinking about. Strong? " 

" Dunno." 

I've just asked him what he is thinking about. He is think- 
ing about you, and how all this is going to hurt you.. And it 
will hurt you. I cannot go into that. But I know that it will 
exalt you and make you glad that you have lived, and that 
you have borne a son 



" Pret' near through ? " 
" Yep." 
" So'm I." 

" You're a great man, Strong. I've been trying to put 
some of it down. Can you hold out a little longer? " 



i64 WAR STORIES 

" Dunno." 

The giant was beginning to shake as if he had the palsy 
and to sob for breath. Locksley finished his letter. 

There's not rjiuch time left now, Mrs. Strong. Joe tells me 
that he's all in. I hope God will give you strength in your 
trouble. 

He signed his name and stuffed the sheets into his 
pocket. 

A look at Private Strong told Locksley that their time 
had come. 

" Joe," he said, " you're a great man. God bless and 
keep you ! " 

The giant made a sudden, plaintive, sobbing noise, his 
muscles relaxed, and he fell forward in a heap. The 
great beam against whose weight he had for so long put 
forth his strength dropped sharply a matter of four inches 
and stuck fast. A little shower of earth fell from the 
roof of the dugout, a few small lumps of concrete, and 
that was all. 

The two men lay for a long time without moving. Ex- 
cept that, at first. Private Strong's great torso rose and 
fell with the powerful expansions and expulsions of his 
lungs. He was the first to move. He was blubbering. 
He sat up and had a first-class fit of hysterics. Locksley, 
on the other hand, felt perfectly calm and peaceful. 
There was no sensation in his legs, and he imagined that 
they were sound asleep. The rest of him could have 
slept with a little encouragement. 

" Joe," he said sharply, " stop that ! Pull yourself 
together and go get some one to dig me out. Shut up ! 
Don't make a fool of yourself." 

The tone of command had its effect. 

" Dig'y'out meself," said Private Strong. 

He had no entrenching tool, and the business took a 
long time. It required strength and delicacy. 

When, at last, his legs were free, Locksley could not 
move them. They were sound asleep. And even after 
they had been slapped and pinched into wakefulness, they 
remained for a long time groggy. 



THE UNSENT LETTER 165 

When the two men crawled into the sunlight, their 
contours were the only human thing about them. They 
looked as if they had been entirely made from whity- 
gray dirt. Private Strong found some dirty cigarette- 
papers and some dirty tobacco somewhere in a pocket 
that was half filled with dirt, and they rolled dirty ciga- 
rettes and enjoyed to the last gritty mouthful a dirty 
smoke. 

They rested luxuriously against the mound beneath 
which they had suffered. 

" Don't know as I ever noticed the color of the sky 
before," said Locksley. 

" Nor I," said Private Strong. 

" It's blue," said Locksley rapturously. 

Locksley reached out a grimy paw and saw it swal- 
lowed in one that was even grimier. Locksley's face 
twisted with pain. 

" Dam you," he said ; " I thought you were all in." 

The strong man chuckled sheepishly. 

Captain Cary, of the Engineers, had dropped in to 
borrow some tobacco. He found Locksley bent over a 
scrap-basket and reducing some very grimy sheets of 
manuscript into very small pieces, by tearing. 

"What's the matter?" said Cary. "Wouldn't the 
story tell itself?" 

"That's just the trouble," said Locksley. "I started 
out to write a thrilling tragedy, and just when — well, you 
may say just when the roof was going to fall in — the story 
took itself out of- my hands and insisted on having a 
happy ending. And, of course, that's rotten bad art." 



« 



Infamous Inoculation 



By Wiluam Hamilton Osborne 



On Friday, the thirteenth day of November, nineteen 
seventeen, at half-past four in the afternoon, a young 
man clad in the belted overcoat and soft-felt hat of the 
period swung out of the building known as the Thirteen 
Hundred Block in the city of Paragon City and swung 
himself aboard the first trolley car that came along. His 
appearance, his manner, his freedom and buoyancy of 
movement — all attested the apparent fact that he was in 
the best of health. He was about twenty-four years old. 
There was nothing unusual about him — ^he was a fair 
sample of the average type of well-looking, well-dressed 
American youth. A woman would have glanced at him 
twice; a man once, or not at all. He paid his fare and 
asked for and received a transfer. This he scrutinized 
closely after he had procured a seat. 

Once upon the car, close inspection would have re- 
vealed the fact that his manner had undergone a change. 
His face, ruddy and untroubled before, now paled. His 
manner became fidgety, nervous. He glanced about him 
at his fellow passengers with quick jerks of his head. 
It is probable that he was much relieved at seeing no one 
whom he knew. The car rapidly filled up, chiefly with 
women shoppers. They were all of middle age; the 
young man kept his seat, though several women were 
standing in the aisle. He rode upon this car for perhaps 
the space of twenty minutes. At a trolley junction he 

♦ By permission of Saturday Evening Post and William H. Osborne. 
Copyright, 1918, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

166 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 167 

alighted and boarded another car. This car carried him 
along an unknown avenue into a strange part of town. 
By this time it was completely dark. The conductor of 
this car called out the names of streets as the car pro- 
ceeded on its way. The young man took his station near 
the rear door, where he could the more clearly hear these 
names. He asked no questions. After a ride of about 
twenty minutes more he heard the street name he was 
listening for. He rode two blocks beyond this street, 
alighted from the car, and then walked back two blocks. 

A few moments later he sauntered slowly past an at- 
tractive bungalow that stood on a side avenue snuggling 
cozily behind luxuriant foliage. There were two en- 
trances to this bungalow that were visible from the street : 
a main entrance and a side entrance round the corner of 
the wide veranda. Above this side entrance a bright 
porch lamp was already lighted. Upon the portal of the 
door beneath this light was a name done in square black 
letters upon a plate-glass sign. The young man could 
easily read this name from the sidewalk as he sauntered 
past. He sighed with satisfaction — shuddering at the 
same time — as he read it: Alexis Arany, M. D. It was 
the name he sought. 

The young man walked on to the next comer, turned 
and strode swiftly back again. As he walked he turned 
up his coat collar and drew down his soft hat over his 
face. He objected to the scrutiny of a group of waiting 
patients — he made up his mind that if he found the 
doctor busy he would beat an immediate retreat, trusting 
to another time to find the coast completely clear. He 
reached the bungalow, turned in at the cement walk and 
pressed the button. In another instant he found himself 
ushered into the doctor's outer office. He breathed a 
second sigh of relief; he turned down his coat collar and 
removed his hat. 

The name of this young man was Oliver T. Bones. 

The room he entered was unoccupied save for the pres- 
ence of the nurse who had admitted him. She was an 
attractive young woman, whose sympathetic manner at 
once placed him at his ease. She had a wonderfully clear 



i68 WAR STORIES 

complexion and a sparkling eye. She had an almost im- 
perceptible and altogether charming accent. She was 
Norwegian possibly, or perhaps a Dane. She held out 
her hand to the visitor. 

" You will give me your card, please," she suggested. 

The young man shook his head. " I have no card," 
he said. Then he added : " I am a stranger to the 
doctor. My name is Fredericks." 

The young woman nodded, disappeared for an instant 
and immediately returned. She held an inner door open 
invitingly; the young man brushed against her as he 
passed through the door. It closed noiselessly behind 
him. He was in the doctor's private office. 

The doctor — it has already been stated that he was a 
practitioner of the name of Arany — sat at his desk. He 
was a tall, spare man, of a somewhat foreign stamp. His 
face was long and pale, lined with fatigue. He was 
freshly shaven, but the blue-black of his beard stood out 
in startling contrast to the pallor of his countenance. He 
wore huge rubber-rimmed glasses, which became him 
well. He was all black and white from head to foot, 
this man, with one exception — the edges of his nostrils 
were curiously reddened. His eyes were half closed and 
his large head with its artistically tousled hair was rest- 
ing on one hand. Suddenly he took note of the advent of 
the young stranger. He cast a glance at the newcomer 
through his thick glasses— a glance quick, nervous, hur- 
ried — almost startled, so it seemed. 

" Be seated, sir," he said, rising. 

The chair he indicated was under a strong overhead 
light. The young man took it without hesitation. The 
physician's nervous manner had the effect of placing 
the young man quite at ease. He began to feel more or 
less the master of the situation, without knowing ex- 
actly why he felt so. The doctor stretched his arms; 
he sighed with weariness. His eyes were dull and heavy. 
But his face twitched, and he jerked his head from side 
to side. 

" Office practice," he mumbled, as though half to him- 
self, " not what it's cracked up to be. I need exercise — 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 169 

lots of it. Brisk walks — golf. I don't get it. Excuse 
me for a moment, please." 

He stepped into an anteroom and closed the door. 
The young man retained his seat under the strong light 
but turned his head to watch the doctor as he disappeared. 
For the moment he was uncomfortable, feeling that he 
might be the subject of scrutiny from some unseen point 
of vantage. He wanted to smoke, but forbore to light a 
cigarette ; there was no evidence that the physician smoked 
or permitted smoking in this private room. The physi- 
cian suddenly returned; his step now was light, springy. 
He dropped into his armchair — worked his shoulders, 
breathed deep once or twice. 

" Ah ! " he exclaimed. " Better — much better ! A 
dash of cold water on my eyes. Works like a charm." 

Unquestionably he had changed — his lagging spirits 
had miraculously revived. The young man did not then 
know what had wrought the difference. Months later, 
in a courtroom in the post-office building in Paragon 
City, where the young man sat crouched down weakly 
in a chair by the counsel table, he learned for the first 
time what it was that had so suddenly rejuvenated the 
physician. It was enough that the doctor felt himself 
again. He glanced keenly at his visitor; his eyes glowed. 
His face was a peculiar face, the face of this specialist, 
Arany. It was a gambler's face — the face of a man born 
to take chances. He and the young man eyed each other 
furtively, doubtfully, for an instant ; but neither flinched. 

" What is your difficulty, sir ? " queried the physi- 
cian. 

The young man glanced about him at the two closed 
doors. He leaned forward and spoke in low tones. 

" I was told," he returned, " to say that I had come 
from Portugal." 

The doctor flashed a glance of understanding. 

" I should like to know," he said, " your name." 

" Harry J. Fredericks," returned his visitor without a 
moment's hesitation. 

The doctor smiled grimly and shook his head. 

" Your real name, and address," he insisted. Then he 



lyo WAR STORIES 

added, holding out his hand: " Suppose you let me see 
your registration card." 

The young man flushed, but he met the doctor's glance. 
" Is that necess.ary ? " he queried. 

" To me — absolutely," returned the physician. " I 
must know with whom I deal." 

"All right for you, but how about me? Where do I 
get off ? That's what I'd like to know." 

The physician waved his hand. " You have come here 
to consult me as your doctor, I take it," he explained. 
" Well and good. You are my patient ; I am your physi- 
cian.. Communications between us are privileged. But 
in a way you are quite right. Before we go further let 
us face the facts. Discovery is fatal— for you, for me. 
It would mean ten years at hard labor in a Federal 
prison — for you, for me. Let us both remember that and 
be discreet. I am in your h^nds — ^you are in mine. In 
view of that," he queried, " are you willing to proceed ? " 

The young man pondered. " I wouldn't be here," he 
said at length, " unless I was willing to take the risk. 
That ten years gives a man a jolt." 

" It depends upon you and no one else," said the doctor 
reassuringly. "If you are discreet there will be no 
chance of going wrong. Nothing can happen — nothing. 
You may rest assured of that." 

He held out his hand for the registration card; the 
young man passed it over. The physician made inquiry 
as to the address, the age, the height, the weight of Oliver 
T. Bones. 

He made no attempt whatever to enter upon a physical 
examination of his young visitor. " Your face," he said, 
however, " has a healthy pallor. Light a cigarette. I see 
you want to smoke. You smoke a good deal. But I take 
it the habit has in no wise aifected your iron constitution. 
You are healthy, so far as you know ? " 

" Dog-gone the luck, I should say I am ! " returned the 
other. 

** How do you know ? " 

" My doctor; he examined me some months ago/* 

" When ? " queried the specialist Arany. 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 171 

" Once before the fifth of June." 

The doctor smiled broadly. " The other," he said, " a 
few days before the twentieth of July." 

" How'd you know ? " queried the youth. 

The doctor shrugged his shoulders. " Two significant 
dates," he returned. " You wanted to be sure. Who is 
your doctor ? " 

The youth told him. 

" He found you in prime condition, I take it? " queried 
the specialist. 

" Dog-gone it ! " said the youth. 

" You are not a drinking man ? " queried the physician. 

" Dog-gone it, no ! " returned his patient. " Don't I 
wish I was." 

" You do not use drugs ? " 

" Do I look crazy ? " queried the youth. 

The professional man considered that point interestedly 
for an instant, then dropped it. 

" No examinations since last July ? " 

" No." 
That simplifies matters," mused the physician. 

Within the last four months anything might happen to a 
healthy man. You might get run down from overwork — 
or cigarettes. What did you tell your doctor when you 
asked him to examine you ? The truth ; it's quite impor- 
tant to us both." 

** Told him," answered the visitor, " that I wanted to 
be dead sure there was nothing to keep me from going to 
the Front. What do you think I'd tell him? " 

The specialist nodded in satisfaction. " How did you 
fare in the draft of July twentieth ? " he queried. 

" There's the point," answered his visitor ; " I was so 
far down the list that I knew the war'd be over before 
they ever called me. Now " 

" Now," interposed the doctor, " the war is not over, 
aftd the new registration scheme knocks your calculations 
sky-high." 

" For all I know I may be the first man called," assented 
the young man. 

The doctor stepped to an open safe. From a pigeon- 



it 



172 WAR STORIES 

hole he took a folded printed paper, somewhat bulky in 
appearance. 

" This questionnaire " he began. 

" Is that one of them ? " queried the youth, holding out 
his hand. " Like a magazine, eh ? Do you mind my tak- 
ing a look at it ? Didn't know you could get 'em ; didn't 
know they were out." 

" You cannot get them," smiled the physician, " and 
they are not out. None will be sent out until the fifteenth 
of next month. On that date they will be sent to five per 
cent of the registrants ; on the day following five per cent 
more ; and so on — five per cent a day for twenty days." 

" Suppose I'm in the last batch ? " queried the young 
man. 

The physician shook his head. " You may still be the 
first man drawn." 

He rose and strode round the corner of the desk, peer- 
ing at the printed questionnaire over the young man's 
shoulder. 

" You are in the real-estate business, you say ? " he 
queried. 

" You bet," said the young man. 

" The real-estate business is one not particularly essen- 
tial to the maintenance of the United States Government ; 
you therefore would not be kept here in your job. You 
are, I take it, unmarried ? " 

The young man nodded. " Old man's game," he said. 
"Do you think I want to be tied down at my age? 
Not so ! " 

" You are without dependent relatives ? " 

" Dog-gone it ! " said the young man. 

" Being in first-class physical condition, a single man, 
without dependent relatives, and engaged in the real- 
estate business — that places you in Class One at once. 
The chances are you go to war, unless " 

" When would I go, if I went? " 

The physician shrugged his shoulders. ** Nobody 
knows ; they need you at the Front right now." 

The young man handed back the questionnaire and the 
physician resumed his seat. 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 173 

" You're sure you can pull this stuff across ? " queried 
the young man. 

The specialist nodded. " And," he added, " I am the 
only man who can." 

" What's the treatment ? " 

" One injection — in stubborn cases, two — with a hypo- 
dermic needle." 

"What's the stuff?" 

" A compound specific — chemically prepared by me. 
The formula is secret. I am its inventor. Its presence 
in the human system cannot be traced." 

" Does it make you very sick ? " queried the visitor. 

The physician shook his head. " There will be slight 
discomfort — and* a cough. That's all. This condition 
will cover a period of weeks, possibly months. This is 
fortunate, since it gives the condition apparent perma- 
nence and enables it to stand up under successive exami- 
nations." 

" The result ? " queried the young man. 

" Positive — and absolute," said the doctor. " They will 
decline to pass you. You will not be called to go to war." 

"Sure?" 

"Absolutely sure!" 

" How much will it cost ? " queried the youth. 

" How do you stand financially ? " asked the doctor. 
" How much do you make a year? " 

The young man told him. The doctor nodded. 

" On that state of facts," he said, " I should have to 
charge you five hundred dollars at the very least." 

" Wow ! " exclaimed the other. " Five hundred dol- 
lars ! " 

The doctor once more shrugged his shoulders, but was 
silent. The young man thought it over. 

" You would guarantee that I do not go to war ? " 

" Beyond question, you will not go to war." 

" One jab, and five hundred ; and all over? " 

" The other way round," smiled the physician. " Five 
hundred, and one jab; all over." 

The young man rose. " I'll be back," he said, " to- 
morrow afternoon." 



174 WAR STORIES 

The next afternoon he returned. Meantime, unknown 
to him, Dr. Alexis Arany had instituted and completed 
a very thorough investigation of the young man, Oliver 
T. Bones. He had found his statements substantially 
correct. The doctor was ready for him when he came. 

The young man drew forth a roll of bills and handed 
it to the physician. " Had a devil of a time raising it," 
he said. " I told you I was in the real-estate business. 
Well, I am, when there is any. There ain't any just now. 
Anyway, I got this wad for you. You'd better count it 
and see it's there." 

The doctor counted it, placed it in a drawer in his safe 
and locked the drawer. 

He turned to a stationary wash-basin and thoroughly 
washed his hands. 

" Take off your coat," he said to his visitor, " and roll 
up the sleeve of your left arm." 

He selected an area on the young man's forearm and 
thoroughly disinfected it. He picked up a hypodermic 
syringe. 

Ready? " he queried. 

Shoot ! " exclaimed the young man. He braced him- 
self, and then he added : " Wow ! " He said it several 
times. When he had donned his coat he turned his 
slightly troubled countenance toward the specialist. 

" Just what condition will this create ? " he queried. 
"How will it fool 'em?" 

" I thought," returned the doctor with some impatience, 
" that I explained all that. You've heard of inoculation 
against disease. Vaccination against smallpox is the well- 
known form. To-day they inoculate against fevers — 
typhoid, scarlet fever — the diseases that are likely to 
ravage military camps. But there is no inoculation 
against tuberculosis. To the specialist that discovers that 
prevention there will come immortal fame. Let me get 
back to inoculation. Were I to inoculate you against 
typhoid — and were you to present yourself to an examin- 
ing medical officer with a claim that you were suffering 
from typhoid fever — ^you would lose. He would apply 
tests, wait for several days and apply more. It would be 



it 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 175 

a simple matter to prick your bubble. But he knows — 
we all know — that there is no inoculation against tubercu- 
losis. Therefore he must accept as genuine any apparent 
case of tuberculosis that responds to all the tests. The 
compound specific that I use creates all the apparent 
symptoms of the disease ; it has baffled, and will continue 
to baffle, all their experts. Now," he went on, " a few 
brief directions : Do not come to me . again — unless no 
symptoms appear before you go before the board for 
physical examination. The symptoms will appear. The 
instant that they do, go to your family physician, tell him 
exactly how you feel. He will prescribe for you. Pur- 
chase the prescriptions — but do not take them." 

Once more from his safe he drew forth his printed 
copy of the questionnaire. He leafed it over. 

** You will find here," he said, " a division devoted to 
your physical qualifications — height, weight, your general 
physical condition. Note Question Number Two." 

The young man read it carefully : " Q 2. Are you in 

sound health, mentally and physically ? A 2. 

[to be answered Yes or No]." 

" In answering that question," said the doctor, " be 
sure and make your answer Yes." 

" No matter how I feel ? " 

"Yes. Suspicion is apt to be directed toward the 
registrant who makes the claim that he is ill. Answer all 
the questions truthfully except that one. Claim health 
instead of illness, no matter how you feel." 

The young man held out his hand. The doctor took 
it. The young man started off, and then came back. 

" I can't get that five hundred out of my head, doc," 
he remarked. " Easy money. As I tell you, I'm in the 
real-estate business ; but there's nothin' doing just now. 
But Fm a crackajack salesman when there's any buyers 
to be had. I was just thinking. I might send you two 
or three other chaps — from Portugal." 

" On— what terms ? " 

"A straight twenty-five per cent commission basis," re- 
plied the young man promptly. 

The doctor nodded, smiling. " The more the merrier," 



176 WAR STORIES 

he returned. Then he, in turn, held the young man back 
before he left. 

" Tell me," queried the physician, ** why it is that you 
don't want to go to war." 

The young man shrugged his shoulders. " Let George 
do it ! " he responded. " Why in hell should I go to 
war ? " 

II 

It was said of Mrs. Peabody Standish, of Paragon City, 
that she wore her heart upon her sleeve. She said what 
she felt, said what she wanted to say, and kept on saying 
it. True it is that at times she stopped short in her mad 
career, reversed herself without w^rnifig, and energetic- 
ally traveled in the opposite direction, without apology 
and quite regardless of the embarrassment she may have 
caused. She was past mistress of pointed language ; what 
she said made good copy and stood repetition well. She 
was always listened to. What she said frequently went. 
She was one of the richest and most charitable women in 
the city, and perhaps the ablest leader of the female vote. 
She had used her influence to make the state bone-dry, 
and when a few cafe keepers kept up their trade in de- 
fiance of the law she joined the dry squad in its raids. 
Once she jerked an automatic from her hand-bag and 
actually fired a shot at the most defiant saloon-keeper of 
them all. She let the chips fall where they might. She 
had enemies galore. Her enemies claimed that her 
great passion was an undying regard for Mrs. Peabody 
Standish. They conceded that she stood for the greatest 
good to the greatest number, but they intimated strongly 
that to her distorted vision the greatest number looked 
like Number One. 

One week after Oliver T. Bones had called for the 
second time upon Dr. Alexis Arany, Mrs. Peabody 
Standish sat in the tastily decorated living-room of her 
attractive town house in Paragon City, vis-a-vis with a 
gentleman in uniform. He was a middle-aged man, 
wearing the short military mustache of modern cut. 
There was about this man a comfortable air, readily ex- 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 177 

plained when it is understood that he was a medical man, 
who had been family doctor and general practitioner in 
Paragon City for nearly a quarter of a century. He was 
an army surgeon stationed at the nearest military camp. 
His name was Haddon. 

" You are worried. Major," said Mrs. Standish solic- 
itously. The major glanced into the next room, in the 
Standish household called the music room. Through the 
half-drawn curtains the major caught sight of some one 
moving to and fro. There was some one. It was not 
past ten o'clock in the morning, and one of Mrs. Stan- 
dish's servants was setting things to rights. The name 
of this servant was Bertha. She was a young German. 
The major glanced at Mrs. Standish. 

" Nobody but Bertha," explained Mrs. Standish as 
though that settled the matter. 

" I am worried," conceded the army man at length. 
" We've got a tuberculosis scare over at the camp. Seri- 
ous too. Most of them local men — from here. One or 
two of 'em I know. Can't understand it. They all 
passed the exemption boards last fall, and passed our 
doctors at the camp. Suddenly they're stricken. No 
reason for it, no explanation. We've had mild weather. 
The camp's dry — set in that grove of pines. We've got 
to discharge the whole bunch — send 'em all back home. 
It's a rotten shame ! " 

. " Possibly," suggested Mrs. Standish, " it's not tubercu- 
losis." 

The doctor's glance strayed to the portieres of the 
music room. One of them swayed slightly. But the 
young servant had ceased bustling to and fro. 

The doctor shook his head. " It responds to all the 
known tests," he went on. " That's my errand here 
to-day. I came up to take Dakers back with me. He's 
the best lung man on the Pacific Coast. I .can't under- 
stand about those boys." 

" How many are afflicted ? " queried Mrs. Standish. 

" Too many," returned the surgeon. " Even with you 
I am not at liberty to go into more details." 

"That is the- worst of war," exclaimed the widow. 



178 WAR STORIES 



" There's some excitement in standing up and getting 
shot ; but to lie in camp and rot ! Ugh ! How I hate it — 
war ! " 

There was some reason for this outbreak of the 
widow's. She was a native of the East ; so had her hus- 
band been. They had married there. Her husband's 
life had been lost in the Spanish-American War. 
Against her frantic protest, at a time when their only 
child had reached the age of five, Captain Peabody 
Standish, of the state militia, had gone South with his 
regiment. He got as far as Chickamauga — died there of 
typhoid fever. She had never been able to justify his 
going. In her frantic, impulsive effort to get away from 
the memory of it all she had left New England — its cold 
winters were making inroads, too, upon the boy's health — 
and had fled to the Pacific Coast. She had lived in 
Paragon City for twenty years. This made her one of its 
oldest inhabitants. She knew more about the city than 
nineteen-twentieths of its population knew or even cared 
to learn. She had money — the Standish fortune and her 
own. She had invested well and wisely in large proper- 
ties in the Western city. She was worth two or three 
million dollars. She was a business woman, with all the 
instincts of a business woman. Her son. Dexter Stan- 
dish — ^young, handsome, smooth-faced slender giant that 
he was — possessed all her common sense. He had in- 
herited New England ability to make money. To this 
end he managed with marked success the big real-estate- 
and-development corporation that his mother owned and 
controlled. He had great faith in Paragon City, and his 
policy was aggressive and progressive to the extreme — 
but his judgment sound. 

" Look at Dexter ! " exclaimed the widow hopelessly 
to the major. " First my husband ; and now Dexter. 
And no help for it this time. My money won't help me. 
I'm bound, hand and foot. And so is Dexter. He must 
go to war. I feel as though both of us were being 
squeezed to death by some huge, powerful, unseen hand." 

The major was not at all disturbed or astonished at 
the vehemence of her speech. Nor did he caution her 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 179 

that there might be some one listening behind that sway- 
ing portiere. He merely nodded gravely. 

" Dexter Standish, doubtless," said the major gravely, 
" doesn't feel as you do, I dare say." 

" Neither did his father," wailed the widow. "They're 
both alike." 

The major rose. " I'm due at Dakers' now," he said, 
looking at his watch. "If he confirms our diagnosis — 
and he'll do it — these boys will have to come back home. 
I can't understand it," mused the major; " I can't place 
my finger on the reason for the thing." 

" One minute," cried the widow, " till I get my hat and 
bag. This is my Red Cross day. You can drive me 
there ; it's only half a mile or so, and not far from Doctor 
Dakers' house. I won't keep you but a minute, Major 
Haddon." 

The major waited, and waiting watched the curtain 
that had swayed. It was quiet enough now — hung mo- 
tionless. The major stole swiftly across the room and 
drew aside the curtain. The music room was empty; 
there was no one there. 

The widow immediately rejoined him and they left the 
house. The major's car stood under the porte-cochere. 
It was driven by a soldier in the national uniform. At 
her destination the widow alighted and held out her 
hand. 

" You give my love to Rita," she exclaimed. " Tell 
her I never see her and never hear from her. And my 
regards to Rita's aunt. It's well Rita's got a chaperon, 
even though she is engaged. Dexter's at your house every 
night in the week and all day Sunday. Says he just 
can't keep away from her, that's all. I give him loads 
of messages for Rita; and probably she gives him loads 
to give to me. I never get 'em, if she does. And when 
I call she's out ; Girls' War Bazaar, I take it. And when 
she calls I'm out. That reminds me," she went on: 
" I've got to arrange a jiujitsu fight for the tobacco fund. 
A fight to the. finish — I believe that's what they call it; 
and I've got to do the work." 

"A very proper kind of a fight — to the finish," laughed 



r8o WAR STORIES 

the major. "You arrange it. Til see it. Fm aching 
for a fight." 

" I'll be there myself — in the front row," laughed the 
widow as she left him. 

She bustled into the chapter meeting, took her allotted 
place, hastily doffed her furs and donned her uniform. 
She was late, and worked like mad for a while, silently, 
to catch up with the rest. Silently also, because she was 
thinking, girlishly, of that Captain Peabody Standish who 
had gone to war some twenty years before. Finally she 
had time to look about her, and, as was her wont, began 
to talk. 

" It's a shame," she ejaculated; " Fd give every dollar 
I possess if I could only keep my boy from going to 



war." 



Two or three of her friends turned to her in amaze- 
ment. 

"And you a Standish ! " they cried in unison. 

" My husband was the Standish," returned the widow. 
Then she added : " Terrible line of talk, isn't it ? But I've 
got to say it. I'd give every dollar if I could keep my 
boy at home." 

Mrs. Standish's advent started the ball a-roUing. The 
Red Cross chapter immediately plunged full-tilt into the 
war. Scandal, gossip, rumor, tragedy, blessing, con- 
demnation, invective — all these filled the air. Six women 
present confessed to a definite knowledge as to how to run 
the National Army ; each of the fifteen present explained 
clearly how the Red Cross should be run — with one ex- 
ception. One of the women present, a comparative 
stranger, a Mrs. Ober, distinguished herself by her un- 
broken silence. When the session of three hours and a 
half was up, however, this woman timidly approached 
Mrs. Standish and whispered in her ear. 

** I feel the same way about my son as you do about 
yours," she said. And then she added strangely: 
" Maybe there is something I can do to help." 

She drew Mrs. Standish into a corner. 

" I am not queer — or crazy," she went on in a low 
voice, " and I can give you no message save this one : 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION i8i 

If your eyes meet anywhere the one word Portugal I 
suggest that you obey the summons." 

She placed a finger on her lips and was gone. Mrs. 
Standish watched her go, wondering. 

" Who is she? " queried Mrs. Standish of her friends, 
without, however, thinking fit to repeat the woman's 
words. " I suggest," she went on, " that her dressings 
be examined. They may contain powdered glass. We 
cannot be too careful. It seems to me she bears a sort 
of German name." 

All through the excitement of preparing for the jiujitsu 
fight Mrs. Standish continued to wear her heart upon 
her sleeve. She adopted a slogan of her own manu- 
facture — she told everybody everywhere that she'd give 
everything she had to keep her son at home. She usually 
hedged when taken to task by saying that she was well 
aware, as was ever}^body else, that her money couldn't 
keep him home ; so what odds, anyway ? 

At dinner one evening, while they were alone — save 
for the presence of the harmless Bertha — Dexter Stan- 
dish reproached his mother mildly for making her oft- 
repeated wild assertion. 

I've got to go ; so there's an end to it," he said. 
But," she insisted, " I only say it to my friends. 
And it's true ; if I could keep you home and give up all 
my wealth I'd do it in a minute." 

" You mean," he suggested, " if it could be done with 
honor." 

Oh, of course, I suppose so," returned the widow. 

Why — even Bertha feels the way I do. Bertha, how 
much would you give to keep Mr. Dexter here from going 
away to war ? " 

Bertha made a calculation. " Oh, maybe fifty dollars," 
she returned. 

" There ! " said his mother triumphantly ; " even Bertha 
would give fifty dollars to have you stay at home. We 
all feel the same." 

Bertha blushed and giggled and went down to tell the 
story belowstairs. That night several people in the city 
talked of Mrs. Standish's unusual assertion. Some of 









i82 WAR STORIES 

them may have wondered vaguely whether she would get 
her wish. 

The next morning included in Mrs. Standish's volumi^ 
nous mail there was a typewritten envelope, bearing ii 
local postmark and containing a single sheet of paper, on 
which was typed a single line : 

" Tell Doctor Arany that you come from Portugal." 

Three days after that Dexter Standish himself entered 
the private office at Doctor Arany's bungalow. Doctor 
Arany welcomed him warmly and waved him to a* 
seat. I 

" Your good mother and myself," said the doctor, whaf 
to Dexter seemed somewhat old and worn, " had a veryi 
pleasant interview. She is a very level-headed woman*!; 
I had gathered the impression that she had the reputation': 
for being a trifle indiscreet in her conversation — ^her- 
political career has reeked with invective and anathema — 
but — 



» 



My mother," nodded Dexter, "is an anomaly. If 
she wants to keep anything to herself you may rest as- 
sured she does it. Latterly there's been a distinct method 
in her madness. She wanted something; she didn't dare 
to ask how to go about it. She spread her gospel far and 
wide — actually without directing the least suspicion to- 
ward herself. • She got the information that she looked 
for. It was volunteered." 

The doctor rose, bowed, and excused himself a moment. 
He stepped into the anteroom. Inside of three minutes 
he was back — smiling, debonair. 

Dexter Standish stared at him. " You look— differ- 
ent," he exclaimed. " Younger, somehow — b, different 



man." 



(( 



It is the cold water— on my eyes," nodded the physi- 
cian. " My tired eyes make my entire nervous system 
tired. Let me ask you," he went on, " whether you have 
any idea who may have sent the slip of paper that linked 
my name with the mention of the word Portugal. Your 
mother had an idea it was a woman of the name of 
Ober." 
Dexter Standish smiled. " I have an idea it was our 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 183 

waitress. Bertha," he said. " She's probably one of the 
Kaiser's underground allies." 

" But that would not connect her up with me," said the 
doctor, shaking his head. "And besides, I am told that 
it was due to the intervention of a young man of the name 
of Bones." 

" Bones ? " queried Dexter Standish. 

" Bones," repeated the physician. " The name is con- 
fidential. Do you know whether he may have sent the 
message? It is of importance; but not too much." 

" I do not know," said Dexter. 

The doctor, who had been studying his visitor, waved 
the matter aside. His manner ^toward Standish, be it 
said, was vastly different from his manner toward the 
young man Bones. His tone was serious ; he spoke with 
convincing sincerity and earnestness. 

" Mr. Standish," said he, " believe me, I am not so 
mercenary or so businesslike about this matter as I may 
seem to be. Let me entreat you to believe that I do not 
assist where my sympathies have not been first engaged. 
Will you tell me why you do not care to go to war? In 
your case it is not, I take it, fear ! " 

" Doctor," said young Standish, " I am one of the 
most well-to-do and best-known young men in this city. 
My mother's political career and her wealth have given 
me unusual prominence. I am, furthermore, rich in my 
own right. Being such, I am a constant mark. I have 
been blackmailed half a dozen times. All this has made 
me wary. I've got to know, somehow, that you are not 
operating such a scheme. I've got to know, further, that 
you are not a member of the secret service. I've got to 
be sure of you before I actually commit myself. You 
understand ? " 

The doctor nodded. " You are reasonable," he said, 
" and I am trying to think how to convince you. I think 
I shall insist upon your examination of this room. You 
have sufficient mechanical intelligence to discover the 
presence of a dictograph, even though cleverly concealed. 
There is no one here — or in the house — save Miss Nilsson, 
my assistant, and myself. I assure you " 






i84 WAR STORIES 

Dexter Standish held up his hands. He had scrutinized 
the doctor closely. " I think/' he said slowly, " that I- 
can take a chance. I believe you are safe. If you are 
not, sir, then you will have ruined the lives of three people 
at the least, dragged my reputation in the mud, and con- 
signed me to a prison unless I can put a bullet through 
my brain before that comes. The risk I take is deadly." 

" The risk depends on you alone — and on your mother, 
said the doctor; " be well assured of that. You and she 
hold this matter in the hollow of your hands." He dis- 
missed that subject. " Why is it," he repeated, " that you 
do not want to go to war ? '* 

Dexter Standish hesitated for an instant. While he did 
so the doctor looked him over. Standish was a magnifi- 
cent specimen — tall and straight and spare. His skin 
was clear as a baby's, though tinged with brown, and 
ruddy from the wind. His eyes were clear. There was 
a pleasing irregularity about his features that made him 
a trifle more attractive in appearance than he might have 
been if merely handsome. He was still young. Upon 
him was the indecision of youth. Romance emanated 
from him. He possessed the unexplainable quality of 
magnetism. The doctor noted all these things swiftly 
and with unerring judgment. Then Standish pulled out 
his wallet and drew from it the picture of a girl. 

" I feel justified in mentioning her," he said, still pon- 
dering on the propriety of it. " The situation is un- 
usual. My chief reason for not wanting to go to war 
is this — I want to live with' her." 

The doctor took the picture ; his eyes glowed with ap- 
preciation. " Miss Marguerita Haddon," he said, nodding. 
" I have seen her picture in the local papers. She is the 
doctor's daughter, is she not? Major Haddon's?" 

**Ah," answered Dexter Standish; " and there's the 
rub. A clever man, the major. I've got to be sure he 
doesn't even suspect me in this matter. You see, I'm 
up against it every way." 

" He cannot suspect — unless you let him know," re- 
iterated the specialist firmly. " I do not guess at these 
things; I know. My handiwork already has convinced 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 185 

him ; not only him but Dakers, our best man on pulmonary 
trouble. Already they are beginning to send my men 
back home. Let me ask you/' he went on, waving all 
doubt aside, " how soon in all probability will Major 
Haddon go to France ? " 

" In about six weeks, he thinks," said Dexter. 

The doctor once more glanced at Rita ^fcddon's pic- 
ture. He was a keen judge of pretty women. 

" Why," he suggested, " don't you marry this girl — 
marry her at once? You are engaged to her, I under- 
stand ; have been for some time." 

Dexter shrugged his shoulders. " She will marry me," 
he returned, " only on the eve of my leaving for France. 
She will do nothing that will keep me from my duty. 
Her idea — not mine, you may believe." 

"A little patriot first," said the doctor admiringly, " and 
a sweetheart next. A very fetching sweetheart. I don't 
wonder that you prefer to — stick round." 

Dexter flushed; he didn't relish these remarks. The 
doctor handed back the photograph and Dexter returned 
it to his pocket. 

"If she should ever suspect," said Dexter, " that I am 
doing this — this dastardly thing — she would die, I think. 
And, as I've told you, I should kill myself — unless they 
got me first." 

" Suppose," mused the doctor, following the course of 
his own thoughts^ not that of Dexter's, " suppose you're 
called; we'll say suppose, upon examination, you find 
yourself rejected on account of this physical condition — 
will she still marry you ? " 

" She will marry me the instant that she knows she 
does not interfere with the performance of my duty," 
returned Dexter. " I've been all over the ground with 
her. She's afraid the Government will not take married 
men, even though they waive exemption. She wants me 
to go. But she will marry me at the last moment, not 
before. If they won't take me, if I'm rejected, of course 
she'll marry me. I am positive of that." 

" Her father is a surgeon," went on the specialist. 
" What about him? Would he permit the marriage if he 



i86 WAR STORIES 

believed you infected with tuberculosis? What about 
that?" 

" Doctor," said Dexter, holding the other man's glance 
with his own, " I am this girl's hero. She wants me just 
as much as I want her. The major is to be left out of 
the account. If I am rejected or discharged she will 
marry me ; Jhe will insist upon it, to nurse me back to 
health. That situation doesn't worry me at all." 

The doctor was satisfied on that score. " You have 
other reasons for coming to me," he said. " Your 
mother " 

" Yes," interposed Dexter ; " my mother ; and I want 
to live my life. I've just begun. I'm successful ; every- 
thing's opening up before me. I don't want to leave my 
life unfinished. I don't fear death; I merely want a 
chance at life. Tell me," he said eagerly, " just what 
you intend to do for me. Let me know it all." 

The physician explained to Dexter Standish all that 
he had explained to Oliver T. Bones. 

"And there is no permanent danger ? " queried Dexter 
anxiously. The physician pressed a button at his desk. 
The door opened; his fair-haired assistant entered. The 
doctor gave her a brief direction. While her back was 
turned he glanced meaningly at his visitor. When she 
had finished her brief task the girl turned, looked full at 
Dexter and brushed past him as she left the room. Be- 
hind her trailed a trace of pleasing perfume. 

" You are a picture of health," said the doctor to young 
Standish, " and I wanted you to take notice of another — 
my nurse. Miss Nilsson. Can you conceive of anything 
being the matter with that girl? Yet she has passed 
through my treatment five times in succession; and not 
a trace. As soon as the compound is worked free of 
the system — and vice versa — it is all over. I might send 
you to two or three young men about town — patients of 
mine who have undergone this treatment. But — it would 
be unsafe for you — for them. Temporary discomfort, 
yes. Three months at the longest. In your case, upon 
your rejection or discharge, I suggest recuperation — as a 
blind. The Adirondacks, in the East, perhaps; or your 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 187 

mother's home state — in the Berkshires. Somewhere 
where your recovered state of health will not excite undue 
comment. A honeymoon — alone with your bride. Your 
surgeon father-in-law very likely at the Front. Para- 
dise ! When you return, the war possibly will be at its 
end. At any rate you will be a very much married man, 
possibly with a child; certainly with a child. Simple, is 
it not?" 

Young Standish nodded. He was convinced. 

" What about terms ? " he asked at length. 

The doctor smiled. " Mr. Standish," he said, " your 
good mother has said on several occasions that she would 
give all her private fortune if she could prevent you from 
going to the Front. Foolish! Were I of a grasping 
nature I should be inclined to place a high price upon my 
services in this connection. As it is, I shall be reasonable. 
My suggestion is — a hundred thousand dollars." 

Standish was startled at the suggestion. " I should 
have said twenty-five thousand at the most!" he ex- 
claimed. " Surely, were it the most delicate operation 
in the world it would not cost that much." 

The doctor remained politely but stubbornly silent. 

" Well then," said the young man finally, " suppose you 
make it fifty and we'll call it square." 

" Suppose," returned the doctor with a grim smile, 
" that we split the difference between fifty and a hundred 
thousand, and call it seventy-five thousand dollars. In 
the circumstances that is as low a figure as you can 
expect." 

" In the circumstances," conceded the young man, " I 
suppose I'll have to pay it. Cash, of course. Say when." 

" Here — to-morrow night," returned the doctor. 

The young man shook his head. " Not here I " he ex- 
claimed. " Don't misunderstand me, doctor. My mis- 
trust is not of you. But you have been furnishing this 
treatment for months; it is you who may be watched. 
At any moment — to-morrow night perhaps — they may 
descend upon this place." 

" God forbid ! " exclaimed the doctor. 

" God forbid my being here wh^n they do," returned 



i88 WAR STORIES 

Standish. "I can't take the chance. Consummate the 
matter at my house. At any rate, they're not after me — 
not yet. My house — I'll send the servants out. To- 
morrow night. My house — at nine o'clock." 

The physician considered it carefully. 

" Good," he said finally ; " your house, to-morrow night, 
at nine." 

At nine o'clock to the minute Alexis Arany, M. D., 
pressed the button at the Standish home. He was ad- 
mitted by Dexter Standish himself and was conducted 
through a long wide hall, through two richly furnished 
rooms into a third. This latter was a smaller room, in 
which a wood-fire burned brightly. This room was oc- 
cupied by the widow Standish. 

"You know my mother," said Dexter. "This is my 
den. A bit disordered, I'm sorry to say. We're redeco- 
rating, and they've picked on me first." 

" I noted," said the doctor, " the faint odor of paste 
and calcimine. That," he suggested, pointing to the door 
by which they had entered, " is the only door? " 

The young man closed it, nodding. " There is no 
danger of interruption," went on Dexter ; " the servants 
are all out. If it transpires that you were followed 
here — if we are disturbed at all we can give a perfectly 
reasonable explanation of your visit." 

He spread out upon the flat top of his mahogany desk 
maps of a new portion of the city, intended for the erec- 
tion of fashionable residences. 

" You are intensely interested in the Standish Addi- 
tion," explained Dexter; "you are about to invest your 
money in a portion of the tract." 

" In fact," smiled the physician, " I am here to pay a 
considerable portion of the purchase price and to take 
my deed as soon as it can be prepared." 

" Excellent ! " laughed Dexter. " Now," he went on, 
" my lady mother, who sits there, insists upon financing 
your transaction. She has seventy-five thousand dollars 
in that innocent-looking little bag." 

Mrs. Standish, bustling with nervous activity, drew her 
chair up to the desk. 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 189 

" Dexter is right, doctor," she exclaimed ; " this is my 
funeral, and I intend to take all responsibility for it. I 
have the money here. But I want to find out for myself 
all the details. Except for my first brief interview with 
you I've gotten all this at second hand. One or two 
points I would like to have made clear." 

The doctor patiently resigned himself to cross-examina- 
tion ; it was part consideration for the fee he was about to 
get. The widow Standish was finally convinced. 

She fumbled in her bag and produced a roll of bills. 
" Count them," she commanded. The doctor counted 
them. 

" Seventy-five thousand," he finally announced. 

" Now," said Dexter, " you'd better secrete those bills 
at once somewhere in some pocket, against the event that 
anybody should arrive." 

The doctor did so. Then he rose. "Where can I 
wash my hands ? " he queried. Dexter led him to a 
stationary wash-stand in the corner of the room. Placed 
on a shelf of a medicine closet hung upon the wall was 
a bottle of grain alcohol and a roll of absorbent cotton. 

" No trouble to shOw goods," said the widow Standish 
with a somewhat hysterical laugh. "You find us all 
prepared." 

The doctor dried his hands after washing them thor- 
oughly, and then saturated a piece of cotton in alcohol. 

He turned to Dexter. " Keep on your coat," he sug- 
gested, " to cover the possibility of interruption. Draw 
up your left-hand sleeves as far as they will go." 

He carefully sponged off an area on Dexter's forearm. 
He stepped back to the basin to lay down the cotton and 
prepare his syringe. " I sterilized this needle carefully 
before I came," he said, working busily with his back to 
Dexter ; " but I'll wash the point once more to make 
assurance doubly sure." 

Behind him there was some sudden movement. 
" Doctor," exclaimed Dexter Standish sharply, " quick — 
come here ! " 

The physician, needle in hand, turned swiftly and faced 
the younger man. 



I90 WAR STORIES 

He found himself glancing into the muzzle of an auto- 
matic. 

" Doctor," said Dexter Standish, " throw up your 
hands ! I am a dead shot. Quick ! " 

The physician without the slightest hesitation held up 
his hands. In one of them he still clutched the hypo- 
dermic needle. Holding up his hands he glanced swiftly 
'about the room. He noted instantly that the presence of 
the woman made for his safety. Once he could reach 
her he could use her as his shelter. He had a further 
reason for making the sudden movement that he con- 
templated. Still holding up his hands and without an 
instant's warning he sprang toward the widow Standish. 
He hadn't noticed that she also held a leveled pistol in 
her hand. At his first move she pulled the trigger. The 
doctor reeled and dropped into a chair. She had shot 
him in the arm. 

" Doctor," cried Dexter swiftly, " everybody — quick ! " 

And then, to the amazement of Alexis Arany, crouched 
down in the chair clutching at his ami— to his amazement 
three men plunged through the wall, darted across the 
room and seized him. The doctor grunted with pain as 
they did so. But he looked keenly at Dexter Standish. 

" Camouflage? " he. queried. 

" Yes," admitted Dexter ; " that space there really is a 
doorway. We framed it up — repapered that end of the 
room. They've been standing on the other side of the 
wall paper listening to everything we had to say. Simple, 
wasn't it ? Boys," went on Dexter, " you'll find that i*5ll 
of bills in his trousers pocket." He turned to two people 
who had entered with a fourth operative through the 
other door. " Doctor," cried Dexter to the man in army 
uniform ; " Rita — everybody ! Y(Ju'll have to testify. 
Watch this man take that roll of bills from the doctor 
here. Everybody keep the list of numbers that we made. 
That's right. Now," he said, seizing a large envelope 
that he had procured for the purpose, " seal them up in 
this. So far, so good. Doctor," he said to Major Had- 
don, " will you be so good as to dress this man's arm ? " 

The major stepped to the fore. "The wound will 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 191 

wait, it isn't bleeding much," he said " I want this man 
searched thoroughly first." 

" Frisk him for everything he's got, Jerry," said the 
leader of the secret-service squad. " Perhaps the 
ladies " 

" Rita ! " called Dexter to the girl. The girl, her pretty 
face pale with excitement, stepped to his side. " Rita," 
said Dexter, " look at your quarry — yours ! This is the 
result of effective leadership. Your father and my 
mother and myself — we did exactly as you told us — to 
the letter. Without a single slip. Your scheme. And 
here's the man the Government has tried to get for many 
months. Without a single slip ! " 

"A few slips on the part of Dr. Alexis Arany," cried 
the shrill voice of Dexter's mother. " You gentlemen 
may accuse him of any crime you please. I accuse him 
of rank stupidity in believing for an instant that he could 
corrupt a Standish, or the mother of a Standish, or the 
widow of a Standish. I accuse him of putting his head 
in a noose. Not for one instant," said the lady proudly, 
" did he suspect that I was commissioned by the secret- 
service heads in Washington to — what do they call it ? — 
to get him with the goods." 

She uncocked her gun, dropped it into her bag, caught 
her future daughter-in-law about the waist and bustled 
out of the room. 

" Search him ! " commanded the major when the door 
was shut. 

Jn spite of himself, Doctor Arany smiled at the widow's 
speech. " Caught with the goods," he repeated faintly. 
" What goods ; what goods ? " 

" His snuff-box ! " exclaimed the major, as it came to 
light. " Here, hand tpe that ! " 

" No ! " cried Arany. 

" Yes ! " said the major. He seized the snuff-box and 
opened it. 

" t thought so," he mused, examining the white powder 
it contained. 

" Doctor," pleaded the prisoner, " man to man : I can 
have that back again ? " 



192 WAR STORIES 

The major slipped it into his own pocket. 

" Now," he said sharply, " see if you can find that 
hypodermic needle. He's got it somewhere on him, 
sure." 

But it wasn't somewhere on him; it wasn't any- 
where. They didn't find it. There was a reason for 
this. For, in the instant before the widow Standish 
had discharged her weapon, unseen by any save him- 
self, Arany had deftly dropped the needle into the blaz- 
ing fire. 

A few days later Major Haddon and his prospective 
son-in-law stepped into the office of the United States 
district attorney. 

" We've just been to the county jail to see him," said 
the major. " He's a sight. Cocaine; that's his trouble. 
He's dependent on it. And he hasn't had any since we 
took him. He hasn't even been shaved — the jail barber 
is afraid he'll cut him; he can't keep still. What have 
you found?" 

The district attorney shrugged his shoulders. " Noth- 
ing — at his office," he said ; " results negative. No mys- 
terious compound. The girl's beat it; disappeared. 
We've got young Bones; he's given up all he knows. 
But — what does he know? What have we got against 
this man Arany, anyway? Is he a common swindler — a 
joker? Taking people's money and giving them nothing 
in return ? What did he have in that hypodermic needle ? 
That's what I want to know." 

The major nodded. He pulled out Arany 's snuflf-box. 
" Send for him," he suggested to the district attorney. 
" There's a way of getting something out of him at any 
rate." He handed the district attorney a list of names. 
" Those are the men — a few — that I suspect he's treated. 
They won't talk, and we've got no evidence. But — 
tell him any lies you want to. We've got to have the 
truth." 

The district attorney nodded. He pressed a button and 
gave an order. The three men smoked, chatting, for the 
space of twenty minutes. At the end of that time two 
men in uniform escorted Arany into the room. He 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 193 

seemed a nervous wreck; he was on the verge of col- 
lapse. He was suffering acutely, that was plain. 

The district attorney nodded to Arany and flashed a 
signal to the officers. They were to stand behind him — 
hands on his shoulders. They obeyed the glance and 
stationed themselves behind the prisoner, ready for 
emergencies. 

The district attorney drew forth a bunch of yellow 
papers fastened with a clip. He leafed them over. He 
puffed slowly on his cigar. 

" Doctor Arany," he said, " we've rounded up young 
Bones. Let me read you what he says." 

He read it ; it was a genuine deposition. It was all he 
had. Arany listened, but impatiently. He was more in- 
terested in his own deplorable condition than he was in 
accusing depositions. The district attorney leafed over 
some other papers. " We've got Bruno ; we've got Gar- 
ner ; and — oh, yes ! We've got young Atkinson. Dakers, 
our specialist, banks on Atkinson." 

Major Haddon drew forth the Arany snuff-box, opened 
it casually ; snapped ft shut. Opened it again, snapped it 
shut again. Arany gathered himself together and made 
one terrific dive ; but the heavy hands of the men in uni- 
form held his slender frame as in a vise. 

" I want that snuff-box — quick ! " cried Arany. He 
struggled like a madman. His struggles were wholly 
ineffectual. " For God's sake— one pinch ! " he cried. 
" Just one ! " 

"Arany," said the district attorney, with his own eyes 
fixed upon the snuff-box, " of course it's my duty to warn 
you that anything you say here may be used against you. 
We've got a case against you ; let me tell you that. We 
can make it by ruining the reputation and the careers and 
blackenjng the names and memories forever of a dozen 
young fellows in this town, like Bones." 

" Blacken them ! " exclaimed Arany, a trace of con- 
tempt in his tones. Major Haddon toyed lightly with the 
snuff-box. Arany watched him, writhing, twitching. 

" You are a dangerous character, Arany," went on the 
district attorney, talking as between man and man, " and 



194 WAR STORIES 

under present conditions, no matter what we've got 
against you, you won't get out of our clutches for the 
period of the war. I take it that you understand that 
fully ; am I right ? " 

" I'm no fool," returned Arany ; " and that much I 
concede. You'll keep me safe. I can see that, whether 
you've got the proof you say you've got or not." 

The district attorney watched the major as he snapped 
the snuff-box cover open and then snapped it shut. 

" We — er — we can make it easy for you — or we can 
make it hard for you. That's all," went on the district 
attorney. " It's up to you." 

" Do I get that snuff-box if I tell the truth? " queried 
Arany. 

" You sure do ! " said the district attorney. 

"And I can keep it ? " 

" You sure can ! " 

The promise alone seemed tp stimulate Arany. His 
eyes flashed, glowed. 

He laughed; his laugh was high-strung, hysterical. 
" I want to get a message through to Berlin," cried 
Arany ; " through to the Emperor — direct or indirect. I 
want him to know now what he'll ultimately find out. I 
want him to know now that Alexis Arany, M. D., of 
Paragon City, has proved himself a loyal soldier. Tell 
him from me that Alexis Arany has killed a regiment of 
men — ^a regiment of men who otherwise would go to 
war — a regiment of Americans. Americans — bah ! Tell 
him I have done it by lies, deceit, cajolery — ^by appeal to 
fear, by playing on the affections of mothers and of 
fathers. But I have done it. I have done it by injecting 
into more than three thousand healthy human organisms 
a serum composed of plain, ordinary tuberculosis germs — 
cultures taken from the most malignant cases I could find. 
I have inoculated your young men with incurable disease ; 
that's all. Get that to the Emperor for me. Now give 
me the cocaine." 

Major Haddon passed over the snuff-box to Arany. 

" Take care of that man ! " he said sharply. " You've 
got in your hands one of the most desperate and whole- 



INFAMOUS INOCULATION 195 

sale murderers that ever existed on the face of this 
earth." 

The officers dragged Arany from the room. Suddenly 
a terrific yell rent the air. The district attorney turned 
to the major in alarm. 

" Be calm," said Major Haddon grimly. " They're not 
killing him. I dumped the cocaine from that snuff-box — 
and filled it up with powdered sugar. Hence the row." 
He smiled. 



*His Escape 

By Will Payne 

Joel Borden was thinking of suicide. He had thought 
of suicide before, but always with a certain remoteness 
that implied a considerable interval between the thought 
and the deed. Never before had the thought come so 
close. It seemed to be whispering " Now ! Right now ! " 

He was sitting in a narrow, dingy, belittered room, at 
a desk that ran along one wall — the office of the managing 
editor of the Great Bend Times, for that was his posi- 
tion — and he was staring at a galley proof that contained 
a column-long obituary of Thomas Prentice Scott, or 
Tommy Scott, as the descriptive line beneath the portrait 
said. 

About the time of the Edith Cavell incident. Tommy 
Scott -began taking lessons in aviation. When Germany 
announced the resumption of unlimited submarine war- 
fare he slipped over to France and enlisted in that branch 
of the service. The cables had mentioned him three or 
four times since then. The last mention — that after- 
noon — was very brief, for in the rush of war news there 
was little space for personalities. About all it said was : 
" Killed in action." Whereupon Borden had caused this 
column-long obituary to be written by the member of the 
staff he thought best able to do the subject justice. He 
had been fond of Tommy Scott, and so had a good many 
other people in Great Bend. 

As he stared down at the proof, the thought in the 
center of his mind whispered " Now !" Dying at twenty- 
four, Thomas Prentice Scott had made his brief life 
shine like a star. Borden's own life was of nearly twice 

* By permission of TAe Saturday Evenitt^ Post and Will Payne. 
.Copyright, 19 1 8, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

196 



HIS ESCAPE 197 

that duration, he being forty-three. It did not shine. To 
his own mind, at that moment, it stank like an old dish- 
rag. It was a penetrating sense of that contrast which 
brought the idea of suicide so close. 

Latterly he had begun subtly to wear the indefinable 
air of a defeated man. He was lean and somewhat stoop- 
shouldered, with a sallow face too deeply seamed for one 
of his age. As usual, on coming in from dinner he had 
takien off his coat, collar and tie, and rolled his shirt- 
sleeves above his elbows for the night's work. He looked 
the more disheveled because a two days* growth of sandy 
beard stubbled his face, and his bushy reddish mustache 
always needed trimming. 

His office as managing editor was one of a series of 
rooms opening on a hall that flanked the composing room 
on two sides — all on the top floor of the four-story red- 
brick old Times Building. It adjoined the office of the 
boss, which was in the comer where the hall described 
a right angle. 

The name of the boss was Herbert Bent. By direction 
of the owners — the Harriman-Rosenbaum Syndicate — he 
was in full control of the paper. When he O. K.*d a 
proof or otherwise expressed his commands in writing 
he signed only his initials, with a ring round them. Jim 
Hartigan, foreman of the composing room, said those 
initials signified the Human Being. So the men in the 
establishment took to calling him the Human Being, or 
just the Being for short — that is, behind his back. 

One had to see him in order to get the point of Harti- 
gan's joke. His frame was large and heavily laden with 
fat, though he was only forty or so. Even in walking 
on the level he wheezed slightly. A double chin overran 
his collar, and on any sudden motion his chops undulated 
like unset jelly. His eyebrows were uncommonly thick 
and his forehead seemed originally to have ended only an 
inch and a half above them. Baldness in front had ex- 
tinguished the original line, but the sloping brow and 
heavily thatched protuberant eyes made him look oddly 
like a frog when his hat was off. Young Artie Ferguson, 
assistant city editor, had said, with the air of an earnest 



198 WAR STORIES 

inquirer : " But do you suppose he really is a human 
being?" 

At five minutes past seven that evening — while Borden 
was staring at the proof and entertaining the dark 
thought — Bent left his office to go to dinner, and on his 
way to the elevator glanced through the open door of the 
composing room. His glance was habitually minatory — 
like a standing notice that he didn't propose to tolerate 
any foolishness from anybody. Two minutes later 
Hartigan, foreman of the composing room, sidled in 
through the open door of Borden's room in an ink- 
smeared apron, with a green shade over his eyes and his 
red hair sticking up in the usual disorder. The rapid 
sidling brought him up to the swivel chair in which the 
managing editor sat. 

Borden looked up, rather absently, then, and stifled a 
sigh. His left hand reached to an open drawer and took 
out a chocolate caramel, which he slipped into his mouth, 
though he had come from dinner only a quarter of an 
hour before; seeing which, the foreman's heart was 
troubled, and he frowned slightly as he spoke in con- 
fidence, somewhat under his breath: 

" The Being's having a five-column story set. He asked 
me what time the Bulldog went to press. I told him one- 
fifteen, and he said he'd be back to look after the 
make-up himself." 

" What's the story about ? " Borden asked, also in con- 
fidence ; for this was by way of a conspiracy on the part 
of the crew against the captain. The Bulldog, of course, 
was the early mail edition of the paper. 

" Hot slam at Gardner," the foreman replied ; " Gen- 
eral Oil letters. He told me not to pull any proofs ex- 
cept for the proof-reader." The managing editor seemed 
surprised. For a moment he speculated, worrying his 
bushy mustache. His glance turned to the galley proof 
he had been contemplating. 

" He's killed that," said Hartigan, with a little nod at 
the proof. 

Again an arrested, disturbed look shadowed the man- 
aging editor's face. Then he said quietly: 



HIS ESCAPE 199 



"All right, Jim. Slip me a proof of his story as soon 
as you can." 

He and Hartigan had worked together on the Times 
for twenty years. There was no need of his thanking 
the foreman for this contraband information that the 
boss intended putting a slam at Gardner into the paper 
without bothering to tell the managing editor about it, or 
for the foreman to warn him not to give the transaction 
away. All that was understood between them. 

About half an hour later Borden — wearing coat, collar, 
tie and hat — looked into the city editor's room. 

" I'm going out a spell, Billy ; sit at my desk until I get 
back," he said cheerfully. 

A look of alarm appeared on the city editor's chubby 
face — sl look of dismay and appeal. He seemed on the 

point of exclaiming: "For God's sake, Jo " But 

his eyes dropped to his desk sadly, and he only muttered : 
"All right!" Then he got up. 

Borden knew perfectly what troubled him. He wished 
to clap him on the chubby shoulder, with affectionate 
reassurance, and say, " Don't worry, Billy ; I'm all right." 
But even as the city editor felt the uselessness of ex- 
postulating, so the managing editor felt the uselessness 
of assurances. Without further speech he left the build- 
ing. 

For two hours the city editor sat at his chief's desk 
with a heavy heart, whose forebodings gradually changed 
to mournful conviction as the minutes passed and Borden 
did not appear. Then Borden entered briskly, with a 
firm step, clear, shining eyes and an unflushed face. He 
did then lay an affectionate hand on the chubby shoulder, 
and asked, "How's it going?" — his mind running first 
to the affairs of the newspaper. As he took off his hat, 
coat, collar and tie, and rolled up his sleeves, the city 
editor told him briefly how the night's news was shaping. 

" Good ! " said Borden. " I've got a bit of copy to 
fix up. Mind the ship a while longer, old man." 

Turning to his coat he took a folded manuscript from 
an inside pocket. Then, reaching to a drawer in the desk, 
he extracted a bunch of keys. " I'll be in Dewstow's 



200 WAR STORIES 

room if anything turns up," he added as he went out. 
With profound relief and gratitude, the city editor sat on 
at the desk for three-quarters of an hour. When Borden 
came in, then, to take the desk the city editor was struck 
by something odd about him — s, resilience ; a sort of in- 
tensity that one couldn't exactly put one's finger on, 
though one could feel it. 

It was more than two hours later — ^namely, at twenty 
minutes past twelve — when the Human Being got off the 
elevator at the fourth floor and waddled down the hall 
to his room, with a slight wheeze and a minatory glance 
into the composing room as he passed. The door of his 
room fastened with a spring lock. He got a key out of 
his vest pocket to let himself in, and he had just pressed 
the button that turned on the electric lights when he was 
aware of Borden standing in the doorway. 

The Being had not only dined well but supped, being 
recklessly addicted to the pleasures of the table. His fat 
chops were a rich pink, and he moved deliberately, like a 
man enjoying the sense of bodily content, hanging up his 
shiny walking-stick, and sporty yellow hat with a green 
band round it, then stepping over to the big chair in front 
of his desk and settling himself into it. He was per- 
fectly aware of Borden, standing and evidently waiting 
to speak to him, but he gave no sign of being aware of it 
until he had taken a silver case from his pocket and care- 
fully selected a cigar. Even then he merely glanced up, 
frog-like, quite willing to let the managing editor wait. 
Borden had closed the door behind him. Uninvited, he 
stepped over and sat down at the end of the desk. 

I've come across a great story. Bent," he began — 

greatest story I ever came across in my life." He 
spoke soberly, but with a nervous edge in his voice. 

The statement arrested Bent's professional interest as 
a newspaper man. He went on deliberately lighting his 
cigar, but looking at the managing editor like one waiting 
to hear more. 

" I've been in this newspaper game twenty-three years 
too," Borden continued ; " twenty-three years right on 
this old shebang, here — since good old Colonel Mosely let 



« 



HIS ESCAPE 20I 

me try my hand as a cub reporter; twenty years old at 
the time." He seemed at the moment in a reminiscent 
mood as he studied the fat face across the corner of the 
desk. 

But the Being was not interested in reminiscences. 

" What's your story ? " he inquired unsympathetic- 
ally. 

" Greatest story I ever ran into in my life ! " Borden 
repeated. " The old Times never printed a better one. 
But the deuce of it is, you see, to know how to handle it. 
It's sort of personal. To give you the right angle on it — 
to show you how I stand in connection with it — ^you'll 
have to go back a bit. 

" Old Colonel Mosely made this paper, you know — 
though he was young Mosely when he got hold of it, way 
back in the fifties. Coming back from Shiloh, without a 
left leg, was when he made it a big paper. The Civil 
War — the slavery business — gave him his opportunity. 
There are families scattered all round this section of the 
United States, as far east as the Alleghanies, as far west 
as the Rockies and down to the Gulf, that have taken the 
weekly edition for fifty years, and swear by it. Colonel 
Mosely made the paper." 

Bent was looking at him rather blankly, but listening. 

" The old colonel died fourteen years ago," Borden 
went on, " and ever since then the paper's been on and 
off the market — a bundle of merchandise that anybody 
with the money might buy. Wesley & Phillips bought it 
twelve years ago and made me managing editor. I've 
run the paper ever since, so far's getting the news into 
it and the pictures and the special articles, and all that, 
go — just as I'm running it now, you know." 

He smiled apologetically. 

" You see, that gives me a sort of chesty personal feel- 
ing about it. So far as seventy-five per cent of the stuff 
in it is concerned, why, it's been my paper. I've said 
what it should print and what it shouldn't. As a news- 
paper man, you know it's that seventy-five per cent — the 
regular news and features, and so on — that about nine 
men out of ten buy a paper for, anyhow. If the circu- 



202 WAR STORIES 

lation has kept up and grown some right along I give 
myself credit for it. See? I tell myself that when 
people buy the Times they're mostly buying me." 

Bent was frowning slightly. This sounded to him 
like the prelude to a demand for a salary raise. 

" But, of course," the managing editor went on, ** there's 
always been somebody else to dictate the editorial policy — 
to say what candidates for office it should support, and 
that sort of thing. That never bothered me much. 
Like most newspaper men, I'm a case-hardened cynic 
about politics, anyway. My notion is that nine times out 
of ten whichever candidate is elected will turn out to be 
a more or less well-meaning and ineffectual blockhead; 
so it makes mighty little difference to the common man 
whether it's Jones or Robinson." 

" You said a mouthful there," Bent growled, with ap- 
proval. 

" So it didn't bother me much that somebody else was 
dictating the editorial policy — that is, usually," the man- 
aging editor resumed. " The people who owned the 
paper and were doing the dictating had their little axes 
to grind, of course; but a man who's as cynical about 
politics generally as I am couldn't work up much in- 
dignation about that — or enthusiasm, either. Mostly I 
just went ahead, getting out the best newspaper I knew 
how and not bothering about the editorial policy." He 
regarded the Being thoughtfully for a moment and 
twisted an end of his mustache. 

"But this new deal is different, you know; it's cer- 
tainly a new deal to me. I don't know just who or what 
this Harriman-Rosenbaum Syndicate is. They seem to 
have got hold of four newspapers in the last two years. 
They bobbed up in possession of the old Times last win- 
ter, and you came down here to take full control last 
March — two weeks before the United States declared 
war, as it happened." 

Bent had lowered the pudgy hand that held the cigar 
to the desk. His fat face settled in a menacing way, the 
jaws firmly shut. 

Borden smiled at him and admonished good-naturedly : 



HIS ESCAPE 203 

" Don't get excited now. It's all part of the story. 
Whoever they are, I give 'em credit for being pretty 
smooth. Yes, sir ; I'll sign a testimonial to that any day. 
The old Times has been perfectly loyal. The whole 
Post-Office Department and Secret Service, with a magni- 
fying glass, couldn't find a line to prosecute it on or bar 
it from the mails. As an old newspaper man I've had to 
admire their game. You know. Bent. No disloyalty at 
all ; but just a bucket of cold water here and a sneer there, 
and always a pious suggestion, which the ordinary reader 
could never exactly put his finger on — the pious sugges- 
tion that, ' Well, it's too bad ! We're terribly sorry about 
it, but we're sure to get licked.' You know, Bent." 

" You're drunk ! " said Bent. 

But Borden smiled and replied: 

" Probably I should have been if it hadn't been for you. 
It's been a smooth game. Bent. German successes played 
up; Ally failures played up; everything discouraging 
played up ! Here it is in a nutshell." From his trousers 
pocket he pulled a crumpled piece of print paper — a 
galley proof; a companion to the one containing the 
obituary notice of Tommy Scott at which he had stared 
early in the evening. But he had taken this proof from 
a hook in the composing room. On the margin of it was 
written, in blue pencil : ** Kill. H. B." 

" When the news of Tommy Scott's death came in," he 
went on, " I gave it to Artie Ferguson and told him to 
write a column — ^because he can write and because he was 
a friend of Tommy Scott. He did a good job. What 
he wrote would have stirred men's hearts and women's 
hearts. It would have reconciled them to the idea of 
sacrificing even as fine a lad as Tommy Scott in a great 
cause. But you killed it ! " 

" Too much space ; we haven't got room for it," Bent 
grumbled. Again Borden smiled at him. 
. " Oh, no, Bent. That's not the reason. We could 
have found room for it. Just as news it's worth the 
space. I know more about that than you do. You 
killed it because you don't want men's hearts stirred. 
You don't want them reconciled to the idea of sacrifice. 



204 WAR STORIES 

You don't want them in a heroic mood. That's the rea- 
son you killed it and had a stickful written to take its 
place — a stickful of cold dish-water, very pious, very 
proper, but with no more punch in it than an old orange 
peel. Post-Office Department couldn't complain of it. 
Nobody could point to it as an evidence of disloyalty. 
But it's poison just the same. That's your game, 
Bent." 

Bent took a puff at his cigar and seemed minded to 
yawn ; but abruptly he cocked an ear, listening. Almost 
from the moment he entered the room Borden had been 
aware of a smothered rumbling down below. With an 
alarmed motion Bent pulled out his watch ; but it showed 
only thirty-seven minutes past twelve. 

" What's on the presses now ? " he asked. 

" They're running off the back pages of the weekly," 
Borden replied. " Don't be impatient. I'm coming to 
the story ; but, as I told you, I've got to clear the ground 
a bit. The old Times always fought Sam Stowell. 
Colonel Mosely fought him when he was a congressman ; 
fought his election as governor. After the colonel died, 
Wesley & Phillips fought his election to the Senate. 
Then Hartwell bought the paper. He cared for noth- 
ing but the business end; he never fought anybody — a 
broad smile and a glad hand for all comers was his idea. 
So he didn't really fight Stowell, but just politely depre- 
cated him a bit. 

" You know Slippery Sam as well as I do. Some peo- 
ple say he has low principles ; but they're mistaken. He 
never had any. He'd preach you a Sermon on the Mount 
that would make you weep; and the next day, just as 
cheerfully, he'd burn an orphan asylum if he thought he 
could carry a doubtful district that way. He's of the 
fine old school of machine politics. Nothing else matters 
a whoop so long as you get the votes and the swag. I 
always sort of liked him, in fact. He amused me. The 
way people fell for his tinsel bunk amused me too. But 
along in 1914 and 1915 he couldn't see anything but a big 
German vote in this state. You know how he played up 
to it. 



HIS ESCAPE 205 

" Probably he's getting old and his mind is stiffer in the 
joints than it used to be. Anyway, he kept right on 
playing that hand after a brighter man — even if he was 
as big a crook — would have seen it was played out. He 
did what he could to get the United States balled up with 
England. He tried to keep us out of the war, and ever 
since we went in he's been busy pouring sand into the 
bearings. That don't amuse me. Bent — not when I think 
of Tommy Scott and the million boys who are going into 
these training cantonments. I can't see any joke in it." 

Bent was frowning again. 

" What's the matter with you, anyhow ? " he growled. 
" You don't imagine I care a damn whether you see a 
joke in it or not, do you ? " 

" Certainly not," Borden replied cheerfully. " But I've 
got to tell you this so you'll get the story that I'm coming 
to. Next Tuesday, you know, is the primary election 
for nominations for United States senator. We're sup- 
porting Edgar Peasely. Of course, anybody with sense 
enough to come in out of the rain — anybody, that is, ex- 
cept maybe forty or fifty thousand idiots with votes — 
knows Peasely' s got no more show than the man in the 
moon. The only fight is between Sam Stowell and Mark 
Gardner. It would be exactly Slippery Sam's politics — 
and yours, too, for that matter — to put up a stalking 
horse like that conceited ass, Peasely, in order to divide 
the opposition to Stowell. That trick's older than the 
hills. I suppose Ptolemy used it. We're supporting 
Peasely — which means we're fighting Gardner and try- 
ing to elect Stowell. 

" Gardner is an easy man to fight in some ways. He's 
supposed to have considerable money — which is more or 
less of a crime for political purposes. His personal as- 
sociations have been pretty much with successful men of 
affairs, and successful men of affairs are usually rich 
men. He was a successful lawyer — ^which means that he 
had big business concerns for his clients — corporation 
lawyers we call 'em when we want to slam 'em; though 
as three-quarters of the business of the country is done 
by corporations a successful lawyer is pretty sure to have 



2o6 WAR STORIES 

corporations for his clients. He never had anything in 
particular to do with politics ; so all the people, from the 
village postmaster up, who have had particularly to do 
with politics regard him as a sort of interloper — an easy 
man to fight in some ways. 

" But back in 1914 he got stirred up about this war 
business ; thought the United States was going to get into 
it without any preparation. He ran for Congress and 
was elected. You'll admit he's made a remarkable record 
for a new congressman — especially since things began to 
get red hot last winter; and more especially still since 
the United States declared war. It's my candid opipion 
that any man who can see straight and wants the United 
States to win this war wants Mark Gardner at Washing- 
ton. If there are any scores to settle with him on that 
old corporation-lawyer count and his association with 
rich men, we can settle 'em at some more convenient 
time. He went into the race against Stowell because he 
couldn't stand the old man's rotten war record. You 
know as well as I do that there's nothing in this election 
except a choice between true blue and greasy yellow. 
You know it perfectly. That's why you're supporting 
Peasely." 

"If you don't like the paper you're working for you 
can resign," said Bent. 

" But you won't want me to when I've told you the 
story," Borden replied, with a smile. " You won't even 
want to fire me, as you did Ted Parks. I give you credit 
for one thing. Bent: you didn't interfere with the staff 
much. You knew what newspaper staffs are — mostly 
just taking orders from the boss, and humping their 
shoulders and getting out the paper. But you fired Ted 
Parks. His editorials on this war annoyed you. They 
were too sharp and convincing. You couldn't bear to 
have him round the place. You made a mistake there 
too. You see, Ted's been ambitious to write for the 
magazines ; but so long as he was doing his daily news- 
paper stunt he didn't have much time. He's a bit lazy, 
I'm afraid — terribly interested in a whole lot of things 
besides work, like most of the bright youngsters. So I 



HIS ESCAPE 207 

don't know whether he'd ever have got round to try his 
hand in a bigger field if you hadn't fired him. 

" That gave him leisure ; and, as he has a little money, 
he decided to experiment. He looked about quite a while 
before he found what struck him as a good subject for a 
magazine article. When he found the subject and got his 
data and wrote the article, he couldn't make up his mind 
to send it off. . . . But I'll tell you more about that 
in a minute. I must tell you, first, how I came to look 
Ted up this evening: 

"After you went out to dinner I was looking around 
the composing room and I found they were setting some 
stuff that I didn't know anything about. I asked Jim 
what it was and he said it was a story you'd given out. 
I looked on the hook for proofs ; but Jim said you'd told 
him not to pull any proofs except for the proof-reader. 
Of course I'm in charge here when you're not about and 
I feel sort of responsible. As soon as the story was 
set I pulled a proof and read it over. It was natural 
that I should want to know what was going into the 
paper I'm managing editor of." Bent was regarding 
him intently, with a sort of fat, menacing alertness. 

" The story, you remember, contains facsimiles of 
three brief letters from Mark Gardner to Wilbur P. 
Rockwell, treasurer of that branch of the General Oil 
Company which operates in this region. Wilbur P. 
Rockwell's name is sort of familiar to newspaper readers 
with good memories. It figured conspicuously in the 
Congressman Putnam scandal five years ago, when it was 
discovered that Mr. Rockwell was contributing liberally 
to Mr. Putnam's campaign fund, which cooked Mr. Put- 
nam's goose. 

" These three short letters from Gardner to Rockwell 
are typewritten on the letter-heads of a Washington hotel. 
They are dated this present year, and they show that 
Rockwell was sending quite a bunch of money to Gard- 
ner — or, rather, to somebody else by Gardner's direction. 
Taking all the cry about Gardner's being a corporation 
attorney, hand in glove with the plutocracy, and people's 
inveterate suspicions of anybody in that position — and 



2o8 WAR STORIES 

taking the very clever work that's been done to confuse 
the issue in this election — it looks very probable to me 
that these letters, coming out in the respectable old Great 
Bend Times on Saturday morning, when the election is to 
be next Tuesday, would defeat Gardner and elect Slippery 
Sam. With my experience of politics, and knowing how 
mighty easy it is to fool people for a while, and all the 
prejudice against General Oil, and so on, it looks to me 
as though these letters would very likely turn the trick. 
Of course, that's what you count on. 

" I happen to know, and probably so do you, that 
Gardner has taken a house in Washington. A.lso, as a 
congressman, he has an office and a secretary. Seemed 
sort of odd to me that he'd be going to a hotel to write 
letters of such a ticklish nature — dictating 'em to the 
public typist there, for all that appears. The facsimile 
signatures looked genuine enough, and I didn't doubt that 
Gardner had written some such letters. You noticed, of 
course, that they were addressed, * Dear Rockwell ' — indi- 
cating more or less intimacy and frequency of inter- 
course, which would be a bad thing in itself for a can- 
didate for the Senate. The letters sounded hasty, as 
though a busy man had dictated them on the run, so to 
speak. 

" Then I got to thinking about that Putnam scandal 
five years ago. You may not remember all the details; 
but it came out that Putnam's letters to Rockwell were 
stolen from Rockwell's letter file and sold to a news- 
paper. I remembered Rockwell's saying that other 
letters were stolen at the same time. Naturally, I won- 
dered whether these letters from Mark Gardner hadn't 
been stolen from Rockwell's file at the same time." He 
was looking very steadily at Bent, who was glowing back 
at him. 

" Of course you'll see in an instant what a tremendous 
difference that would make," the managing editor con- 
tinued. " Five years ago, or at any time back of five 
years ago, Mark Gardner was merely a private citizen — a 
successful lawyer with a large practice; corporation 
lawyer, if you like. Very likely he handled some law 



HIS ESCAPE 209 

business for the General Oil Company. Like every other 
big concern, the General Oil Company has plenty of 
legitimate law business. Suppose, say, he was at Wash- 
ington, arguing a case before the Supreme Court; com- 
municating with Rockwell about it, giving directions as 
to how money was to be paid to cover certain expenses 
of the suit, or something like that. Naturally, he would 
be staying at a hotel and, naturally, he would dictate the 
letters there. The fact that they were written in a hotel 
would suggest there was nothing particular to conceal. 

" Mind you, I'm not saying just that did happen. I've 
had no time to look it up. But I'm guessing that the 
letters will finally be explained in some such way. You 
know how easy it would be to change the date on a letter — 
perhaps by merely altering one figure. It would be easy, 
too, to touch up the context. Changing only three or 
four words would give it quite a different slant. That 
first and most important letter reads sort of chopped off — 
as though some explanatory paragraphs had been cut 
out of it. 

"All that occurred to me, Bent, when I read the story. 
It would occur to other people who'd had my experience. 
But a facsimile letter looks terribly convincing to the 
man in the street, you know. There's the photograph of 
it, signature and all. It looks mighty convincing to him. 
And, you see, there's no time now to sift the thing out. 
Gardner and Rockwell would enter denials, no doubt; 
but there's no time to get a convincing, circumstantial 
denial before the public. Tens of thousands of voters 
might very likely swallow the thing whole. And a couple 
of tens of thousands are probably all Slippery Sam needs. 

" While I was in the composing room I ran across this 
proof here — showing that you'd killed my obituary of 
Tommy Scott. I took that, and the proof of your slam 
at Gardner, and went out to Ted Parks' house to have a 
talk with him. You made a mistake in firing him. That 
gave him a lot of leisure to sort of keep an eye on things. 

"Ted told me that Otto Lachner was at the Elliott 
Hotel this afternoon — not registered, but there all the 
same. He left on the six-thirty for St. Louis. You see, 



2IO WAR STORIES 

Ted has been looking things over and thinking about 'em 
quite a lot. He has evolved an interesting theory about 
Otto Lachner. Ted told me, too, that you'd spent some 
time in Lachner's room at the hotel this afternoon. 
Maybe he'd bribed a hall boy or a clerk. Anyhow, he's 
keeping quite an eye on things." 

Bent was glaring then; but Borden went on evenly, 
with only that edge of a high nervous tension in his 
voice. 

" Naturally, that gave me an idea. As soon as I got 
back to the office I came into your room here. Maybe 
you don't know it, but I've had a key to tfiis room for a 
dozen years. I came in here and looked in the waste- 
basket, and found what I wanted. I found a cut string 
and a sheet of heavy wrapping paper, creased the way 
wrapping paper gets when it's been used to do up a 
bundle. The creases showed the size of the bundle — 
just the size of those electroplate facsimiles of the letters 
out there in the composing room. 

" Of course I had discovered before that, by looking 
at the copy in the composing room, that the story wasn't 
written here in the office. You brought it in all written 
up, ready for the printers, and with the electroplate 
facsimiles of the letters all ready to go into the forms. 
Naturally, I concluded that Otto Lachner had handed you 
the story and the plates at the Elliott Hotel this after- 



noon." 



" You rotten sneak ! " Bent began vehemently* 
But Borden grinned, held up a protesting hand, and 
warned, in a voice above Bent's: 

" Just a minute ! Hear the evidence ! The wrapping 
paper and string weren't all I found in the waste-basket. 
I found two torn letter-heads of the Elliott Hotel, on the 
backs of which you and Otto Lachner had constructed the 
head-lines to go over the story. At any rate, the hand- 
writing is mostly yours. The other hand, no doubt, is 
his. You two sat down at a table and worked out the 
head-lines — trying 'em several different ways until you 
got 'em to suit you. You wrote on the back of Elliott 
Hotel letter-heads, and you brought the sheets over here 



HIS ESCAPE 211 

to make a fair copy from. Careless of you to toss 'em 
into the waste-basket ! I have 'em now." 

"And where do you think you'll get with all this stuff? " 
Bent burst forth, glaring. " I'll fire you ! You're a 
booze fighter ; a souse ! You can't keep sober six months 
running to save your life. Every newspaper in the coun- 
try knows your reputation. You couldn't get another re- 
sponsible job to save your life. Tanks aren't wanted any 
more. You've been stuffing yourself with candy and 
fruit the last two days trying to stave off a spree. Every- 
body on the staff, down to the youngest cub reporter, 
knows the signs. They've all been nervous as cats to-day, 
expecting the usual thing — ^you in the ditch for three days, 
then in the hospital for a week, and the paper going at 
sixes and sevens. Why, no other newspaper would let 
you run the freight elevator! I have kept you on here 
just from good nature. I'll fire you, and you may get a 
job peddling shoe-strings." 

For a long moment after Bent's angry voice ceased the 
room was quite still, Borden staring at the fat man — or, 
rather, staring beyond him. He put a lean hand up to his 
bushy mustache and said, in a lower key, absently : 

**A11 of which is perfectly true. Bent — perfectly true. 
I've been a hog for fifteen years. ... As a matter 
of fact, I was thinking of suicide when you went out to 
dinner this evening. I've thought of it before; but this 
time it came close. Partly that was because of Tommy 
Scott. I was fond of Tommy; everybody was who 
knew him — a fine, bright lad. Young Tommy was dead 
over there in France, you see, for a cause he believed in 
and was willing to die for; and old Joel Borden was a 
hog here in Great Bend, trying to stave off another spree 
that would put him in the gutter once more, and degrade 
his wife and children once more — and feeling right down 
in his gizzard that he wasn't going to stave it off. Seemed 
to me there was only one answer I could make to the 
thousand hot little devils in my brain that were yelling 
for whisky ; and that was to take the old forty- four out of 
the second drawer of my desk and blow them out. . . . 

" Then I went into the composing room and discovered 



212 WAR STORIES 

your story about Mark Gardner. You see, this old Times 
is my paper a lot more than it's yojurs or the chaps' that 
have paid some money for the stock. I grew up with it. 
I've thought for it and worked for it about all my life. 
Your Gardner story was a sort of last straw. You meant 
to put this good, honest old Times, that used to fight for 
the flag, down into the gutter too. You were going to 
make a skulking traitor out of it." 

Bent pulled out his watch, saying: "I'm going to the 
composing room." 

Heaving his bulk out of a chair, however, was a matter 
of some difficulty, and before he had got the proper 
leverage Borden interposed sharply: 

" Hold on, now ! You've got a couple of minutes 
more ; plenty of time then to make up that front page of 
the Bulldog. I'm about through." 

Bent settled back, scowling; and the managing editor 
continued more rapidly : 

" I'm right at the nub of the story. Instead of blowing 
out my brains I went to Ted Parks. I told you Ted had 
written an article he hoped to sell to a magazine. His 
article was about this paper — how this mysterious syndi- 
cate got control of it; how you came in. He described 
very cleverly, with illustrative details, how, without any 
overt disloyalty, you changed the whole tone and effect 
of the paper — made a prize slacker and crape hanger 
and discourager of patriotism out of it. 

" There was nothing the Secret Service or a court 
could really act on. But when the evidence was cleverly 
put together, as Ted put it together — like your killing my 
Tommy Scott obituary and putting a cold-dish-water little 
stickful in place of it — it made a mighty convincing story. 
A court wouldn't hang you on it ; but you can bet public 
opinion would. He showed how Otto Lachner had been 
fluttering round here in the background. It was a good 
piece of work. 

" You see, I was certain Ted had written that story, be- 
cause he had talked to me about it. He told me he wasn't 
satisfied with it, and so hadn't really finished it and sent 
it to a magazine. But in my gizzard I knew better; I 



HIS ESCAPE 213 

knew tlie reason he didn't send the story off was because 
he couldn't write it truthfully without showing me up for 
what I was — a stinking coward. That's just what I was, 
Bent — di stinking coward ! When Ted talked to me about 
the story it gave me cold feet. I was afraid that, if he 
did write it and get it published, I'd be fired ; and I knew 
well enough what trouble I'd have in getting a responsible 
position on any other newspaper, with my reputation. 
Booze fighters aren't wanted any more. In my young 
days it was different ; but nowadays a man looking for a 
first-class newspaper job might about as well have small- 
pox as have the reputation of going off every few months 
on a week's spree without notice. 

" You don't know what an awful coward I was. Bent. 
So long as I could hold this job I could at least provide a 
good living for my family. To imagine myself looking 
them in the face and telling them I'd been fired, and we'd 
probably have to move into a three-room flat on a back 
street, where I might get a desk job at thirty dollars a 
week, was more than I could stand. I hung to this like a 
shipwrecked man hanging to a plank. I didn't dare to tell 
Ted to go ahead and print his story and show up the 
treason here, and let me take my chances. I was some 
coward, Bent! 

" That was exactly the trouble with me — do you see ? 
When any man lets a vice master him you don't need to 
dope him with bromides. I took a cure twice. And you 
don't need to dope him about heredity and environment 
and economic conditions. There's something wrong in 
that man's own soul. Tell him to cure that. I've been 
a drunkard because I've been a coward. I've lived 
craven. I've been afraid of the booze; afraid of my 
job ; afraid of myself. I haven't had the guts to stand up 
to my enemy, eye to eye, and smash him in the face. 
That's been the trouble with me. I know it now — 
absolutely. 

" So I went to Ted to-night to tell hJm to go ahead with 
his story, cutting out some less effective stuff and adding 
this last little touch of the Tommy Scott obituary; but 
more especially adding this last straw of your slam at 



214 WAR STORIES 

Mark Gardner— explaining, you see, that Otto Lachner 
was here ; that you and he were at the hotel together ; that 
he gave you the manuscript of the story and the electro- 
plates of the letters ; that you and he built the head-lines 
on Elliott Hotel stationery. It's mighty convincing, Bent. 
I'm a good judge, and I tell you it will make a corking 
story." 

Bent grasped the arms of his chair to heave his bulk 
out of it, his face in the deepest scowl its excessive fatness 
would permit. As he got to his feet he said : 

" You're a sneak and a traitor to your paper ! " 

By all the traditions of the craft, treason to one's paper 
is a black charge to bring against a newspaper man. 
Borden rose too — between the fat man and the door — 
quite tense, his lean, stubbly-bearded face thrust forward. 

"And what have you been a traitor to. Bent ? " he asked. 
" What about you? What have you been betraying? " 

" Rats ! " said Bent, in deep disgust for what the ques- 
tions implied. " I look out for myself* Get out of the 
way ! " 

But Borden still stood in his path, not looking like a 
man to be lightly pushed aside. 

" It's you that have been a traitor to the paper ! " he 
said. " Do you suppose forty thousand Americans would 
have been buying it every day — and fifty thousand the 
weekly edition — if they'd seen what you were trying to do 
with them? They're the paper. You've been putting 
ground glass in their bread. Why did your backers pick 
out the Great Bend Times? Why did they want this 
Gardner story to come out in it? Because of its solid 
old standing. Because people have confidence in it. Be- 
cause a lot of honest men have worked to make a reputa- 
tion for it. You're cutting their throats." 

" To hell with you ! " Bent retorted angrily. " Get out 
of the way! You're fired right now! You'll be drunk 
to-morrow and begging for a job next week. You're 
done! And don't forget this, you dirty sneak: Mark 
Gardner will be as dead as a door-nail to-morrow too. 
Let Parks go ahead with his magazine story if he wants. 
It will come out a month after the funeral. I'll know 



HIS ESCAPE 215 

what to say to it by that time. You're a f opl, Borden ! 
I think you've gone nutty." 

He put a ponderous hand to the managing editor's 
shoulder and pushed him aside. But Borden caught his 
arm, exclaiming: 

" Let's see, now." With the other hand he drew an 
ancient open-face silver watch from his dangling vest. 
" It's two minutes of one. I'd rather you waited two 
minutes more ; but if you're bound to go now " 

Without finishing the sentence he stepped quickly to 
the door, threw it open and called, " Oh, Jimmy ! " — 
standing on the threshold and holding the door so as to 
block Bent's exit. " I've got something to show you," he 
said over his shoulder to the fat man, close behind him ; 
and almost in the same breath, addressing the snub-nosed 
office boy who had answered his call, he directed : " Fetch 
the Bfilldog." 

-As the boy ran back to Borden's room the managing 
editor explained to Bent, whose paunch pressed against 
him and whose scowling face was just above his 
shoulder : 

" I'm the boss here when you're not about. When 
you're out of the builduig what I say goes. You ought 
to have remembered that." 

Jimmy came up, with a freshly printed paper, which 
Borden took from his hands. Unfolding it, he explained 
further : 

" I put the Bulldog to press an hour ahead of time to- 
night — at a quarter past twelve. We'll miss some news ; 
but this will make up for it." 

With a finger that trembled slightly he pointed to the 
top of the front page. Across three columns at the 
right-hand side — above the position Bent had intended for 
the beginning of his slam at Mark Gardner — appeared, in 
big black letters : A Traitorous Plot Exposed ! And be- 
neath that, in somewhat smaller type : A Statement to the 
Readers of the Times by Joel Borden, Managing Editor. 

" That's Ted Parks' story of what you've done to this 
paper," said Bordon, " edited and extended by me with 
.the Gardner-letters stuff. It's a corking story. Bent ! " 



2i6 WAR STORIES 

he added exultantly. " It kills you dead ! It kills your 
gang! It falls Slippery Sam! It puts the old Times 
right — back under the flag where she belongs. It's been 
on the presses three-quarters of an hour. It's in the 
mails. It's going on the four winds. The Associated 
Press has been sending it out for half an hour. The 
devil and all his works can't stop it now 1 " 

His fingers still trembled; but his face shone. He 
peered closer at the page. The title of the paper was 
printed across its top in ornamental type ; beneath the title 
was the device of an eagle, with wings outstretched for 
flight, beside an American flag — just as in Colonel 
Mosely's time.. Modern journalism, with its preference 
for plain letters, considered that amusingly old-fashioned ; 
but Borden peered at it with a sort of hungry affection. 
He turned somewhat, in order to face Bent more squarely, 
and smiled slightly; men of his sort usually do when ex- 
pressing emotion, as though that was something to be 
apologized for. 

" There's the story the old paper carries to-night, 
Bent," he said. "And be damned to the enemies of the 
United States ! " 

Bent seemed to be grinding his teeth, and he spoke 
thickly : 

" Drunk ! Go and get drunk ! " 

Bilt Borden's smile broadened triumphantly as he 
replied : 

" You don't get the whole point of my story yet : It's a 
personal story ; my story — the cure for cowardice ! I've 
won! I'm going home right now to wake up my wife 
and show her this paper, and tell her I'll never take a 
drink again as long as I live. I know that — absolutely ! 
There's no more fear of it in me. I've gone over the top, 
you fat slob ! " 



* The Boy*s Mother 

By Laura S. Porter 

For many days, off and on at frequent intervals, 
Merington might have been seen striding up the path of 
a certain garden. Then there was that one day when 
she met him in the library; the day when her lame 
brother limped out of the room on his crutches and left 
her and Merington and a perfectly dead silence. 

Merington never knew exactly how he got to the 
subject ; very few men who make a success of it ever do. 
Why should a man remember just what got him to the 
point where he is as melted wax before the woman he 
loves ? Merington probably could not have told you any 
more than that at last he took her in his arms with his 
own clumsy fierceness, and said a few broken sentences. 

It might be recorded that Merington floated home that 
night. When he got home he sat and floated some more 
for a long time ; and finally, toward two o'clock, he went 
to bed. 

During the next week there was news for him. Mer- 
ington was probably twice as surprised as the world at 
large, barring the German Empire, when the world broke 
into war. Nobody was more confident that there could 
not be war. 

" Good Lord ! my dear, we've got past fighting ! Why, 
the murder machines themselves are the -best protection. 
Besides, it would involve everybody ! There can't every- 
body go to war ! And with the war-machines we've got 
nowadays Oh, well, it won't happen! Don't dis- 
turb yourself, my dear. Don't you look anxious ! " 

And, having settled the question to her comfort, he 

* By permission of Harper*s Magazine and Laura Spencer Porter. 
Copyright, 19 1 7, by Harper & Bros. 

217 



2i8 WAR STORIES 

stirred his tea and took another of the jam sandwiches 
she offered him and put a kiss on her white forearm be- 
fore she set the plate again on the tray. 

Two weeks later he had answered his country's call, 
ite showed some swagger at his club that day and ex- 
pressed profound relief. England was coming to her 
senses, thank heaven! She had been asleep too long. 
Look how she had shilly-shallied over the Irish affairs, 
and bungled and muddled everything else. She had been 
too patient ; and such a lot of talk ! But now, by George ! 
there really would be something done! For himself, he 
asked nothing better than to be permitted to do his share. 
" For it's not going to aniount to more than a jolly good 
beating for them. We'll be back to tea and jam sand- 
wiches almost before we're there. Look at the Powers 
they've got against them ! " 

AH this to young Brookby, who was, Merington knew, 
hard hit by the news. For if young Brookby went — and 
of course he'd have to go! — there was young Mrs. 
Brookby to leave, and that new first baby — with five 
names and just three weeks of life to its count. 

" Gad ! I hope they won't dawdle about it ! A lot of 
red tape, you know, and all that sort of thing. I'd 
like jolly well to start right off! " Merington declared. 

By all of which any one not knowing the workings of 
Merington's mind would have judged he had for years 
past lived with a soldier's hope — the hope of active 
service. 

The fact was Merington never hesitated to tell an un- 
truth when it could do no harm and could ease the minds 
of others. It would certainly make things easier for 
everybody, which was to say for Gwendolen and his 
mother, if they believed he was really eager to go. Mer- 
ington's entire moral code was built in a very personal 
way on others. He had no religious objection whatever 
to breaking any of the ten commandments. But if the 
breaking of any one of them brought sorrow or even 
discomfort to any one else, then the breaking of it was 
wrong ; that was for him the decalogue in a nutshell. 

So Merington talked a good deal, by and by, about the 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 219 

wisdom displayed in the ordering out of his regiment. 
" They've been deucedly slow about it," he observed. 
" Two whole months ! They ought to have sent us out 
at once." 

But for all tjiese harmless lies which he indulged in 
at the club, at dinner, at tea, here and there and every- 
where, Merington never lied to himself. He knew he 
hated to go, hated to go. He knew he would infinitely 
rather crack rocks for the rest of his life — if they would 
only let him crack them on a certain road, where he could 
get up now and then and run up a certain lovely lane, 
past the hawthorn hedge to a certain garden, typically 
English, where she sat, and where the larkspur and 
prince's feather and mignonette of her tending, roses of 
an incredible loveliness bloomed, but slight and negligible 
thing, frail and on their way to wither, compared with 
that ever fresh and ever renewed loveliness of her. 

" Oh, hang it ! " Merington said, sitting down heavily 
in his armchair one night, with an absent, glazy stare. 
" I can't go ! " Then, more softly, " I can't go ! " Then, 
in a kind of whimpering whisper, " I can't, can't, can't 
leave you, my dear ! " 

There was a gentle knock at the door. Merington 
raised his head sharply : 

"Yes?" 

His mother came into the room. As an excuse, she 
had a toddy in one hand. She wore a long dressing- 
gown of a nondescript color. She was a slender woman, 
and a little gaunt, with a quiet, subdued air about her. 
The slight stoop of her shoulders, the softness of her 
step, the little rather dreary gentlenesses and the hesita- 
tions in her manner, the little inopportune kindnesses 
that she was forever rendering absently, and the waiting 
inflections of her voice — all these bespoke a nature un- 
assertive, a character indefinite and receptive rather than 
positive or self-made. It was as though upon what had 
once been a fair blank sheet Life had jotted down, 
through the years and in fine script, many memoranda, 
but of matters rather commonplace and of no very great 
consequence to remember. 



220 WAR STORIES 

The face, which was white and beginning to be old, 
was to-night, unaffectedly tired. Anxiety had drawn its 
hands over it. She had hardly slept the night before. 
She had spent the hours between wakefulness in the 
moonlight and sundry trips down the hall to his door, 
where she would stand with her head bent to the door 
crack, listening. And because each time, tiptoe as she 
might, Merington's acute hearing was aware of her, she 
heard him snoring soundly as she stood. This he sup- 
posed would comfort her, and it did. Moreover, he 
could not have borne to have her come and sit by his bed 
as he believed might be her intention; for in the low 
wicker chair there beside it in the moonlight his fevered 
fancy seemed to see the girlish figure, slight, slight and 
delicate, as a stave of song, unbelievably beautiful, yet 
real as every throb of his heavy pulses; there near to 
him she seemed to be, and by an exquisite torment that he 
allowed himself, just so far from him that he could not 
draw her to him, body and soul both; there like some 
sacred chalice in the moonlight, waiting the touch of his 
lips, but not to be touched — not yet — until he had known 
the baptism of fire. 

So, his own face was gaunt a little, and worn, and 
the likeness between it and his mother's, which was 
usually a very slight and shadowy thing, was strong now. 
You looked from one to the other and you seemed to see 
time pass, and seemed to know what it had been about. 

" Reginald " 

He looked up, but did not stir from his armchair. 
She put the toddy on the table and turned the lamp a bit 
higher. She was just a little too dull, too preoccupied, 
too timid, to know he had turned it low purposely. 

*' The evening is so cool. I only wanted to come to 
see if you had enough fire," she said, absently. She 
looked so wholly irrelevant standing there behind him, 
so unwanted. She was like a solitary tree on a sandy 
dune. She took no notice of the fire whatever, but turned 
her head very little, and glanced from one point to an- 
other of the shadowy room as you have seen a sea pine- 
tree turn its head ever so slightly to some mysterious 



THE POY'S MOTHER 221 

moving air-currents unfelt by any one but itself. It was 
as though, standing there above him, she felt some pres- 
ence of calamity, some ominous moving of the great 
currents of the world that had not yet touched him as 
he sat there gazing into the fire, but which she knew soon 
must do so, bowing and quenching his young strength. 

" Enough fire ? " he said, and raised his head. " Oh, 
I've plenty, thank you." 

It was foolish of them to put each other off. He knew 
perfectly well, as well as she did, what she had come for. 

She came and stood beside him, and remained there 
mute, gazing into the fire. 

He took one of her hands in his and patted it. It was 
a thin, worn hand, loaded above its wedding band with a 
lot of ill-assorted rings. 

"Too bad, little Mater," he said. (He liked to call 
her " little Mater.") " Too bad. But never you mind. 
We'll come back covered with glory, provided we're not 
covered with earth first." 

She took a quick look of horror at him, which he did 
not see. Then she forgot herself again and tried to enter 
into his thoughts. 

" It will be very hard indeed for you, Reginald." 

"Forme? Oh, no. I'm itching for it." He dropped 
her hand and rubbed his own hands together. " Itching 
for it ! " He put a hand on each knee and stared into the 
fire as though there he could picture and see coveted 
struggle. 

" But I mean just now." Her glance went to a picture 
of Gwendolen on his table. 

The coals crumbled together. He withdrew his gaze 
from them. He reached for his tobacco-pouch. There 
were hunger and need in his soul that some one should 
speak to him of her, yet he pretended not to know just 
what his mother meant. He began filling his pipe with 
great nicety. 

His mother walked away from him with her peculiar, 
quiet, subdued step, the train of the dressing-gown trail- 
ing along after her softly, dutifully. She paused for a 
moment at the end of the room by a table, then walked 



222 WAR STORIES 

back again and stood near him. With an exceedingly 
careful forefinger he was pressing the tobacco down in 
his pipe, very neatly indeed. She watched him, a Uttle 
dazed, hardly attentive, while he lighted it at last and 
got it going. 

" Don't bother about me, Mater," he said when he had 
let out a long trial puff. " Til sleep like a top and pack 
up in the morning. You're a brick ! " He said this 
pressing and relinquishing the pipe-stem with his lips and 
his eyes once more on the fire. 

His mother noted the delicacy and strength of his 
hands on the chair-arms. She stood close by him, and 
took the uncommon liberty of putting her hand on his 
heavy, blond hair. 

" My son ! My son ! If I were Gwendolen " 

He responded quickly. He was not afraid now. He 
looked up with a light in his eyes. " I wonder if you'd 
be goose enough, eh. Mater, to love a fellow as she does ? 
Do you know she thinks I'm wonderful." He half closed 
his eyes dreamily. " Do you know, when I think that 

when I come home she'll marry me ! That's why I'll 

come home. Don't you see ? I was only speaking in fun 
before. I feel as though a bullet couldn't hif me with 
that around me ! " Suddenly his face was sober, beauti- 
fully sober, as though an unsuspected curtain somewhere 
were withdrawn, allowing light from a hidden altar to 
shine on it. 

" I suppose not," his mother said, in a bewildered way. 
Then she slipped into a strange, dreary monotone. 

How proud she'll be! Almost as proud as I!" 
You!" Merington was recalled to himself and 
laughed. " Oh, Mummy I You are foolish about me, 
but you don't begin to be as foolish about me as she is. 
Why, she thinks I'm perfect ! And you couldn't, couldn't 
make her see anything else." 

His mother was bewildered again. " Yes, I see," she 
said, not seeing at all, and trying to smile. 

They were both silent for a moment, then she spoke : 

" I don't think men ever know exactly what it means 
to a mother. Your father was a very fine man; but I 



« 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 223 

don't believe even your father could guess. Those long 
days and nights, I mean." She was looking into the fire 
intently now, one hand closed on her cheek, dragging her 
lips down a little bit. " I used to pray so, before I saw 
you.. And I was so afraid you'd be a girl ! Of course, 
if yt)U had been," she said, with quick apology, " I would 
have loved you. But oh, I wanted a boy. I wanted a 
boy ! " She paused. "And now you are so big and 
strong ! You had a way of reaching up and putting your 
hand right over my mouth as I held you. You loved to 
do that. Isn't it ridiculous? And now you are so tall! 
And I used to hold all of you in my arms, and I'd put 
your hand spread out on my palm, and it was so soft and 
so little ! " 

His thoughts were not with her. His lips no longer 
tightened and relaxed on his pipe-stem. Indeed, he had 
taken his pipe from his mouth; the bowl of it was held 
forgotten in one hand. He was looking into the fire* 
When he spoke his eyes were narrowed as though better 
to visualize something: 

" Have you noticed her hands. Mummy ? Such hands ! 
They are the most wonderful little hands — wonderful 
little hands ! " He remembered, with a sudden swimming 
of his senses, the soft touch of them in his own. 

His mother did not speak at once. When she did, 
her words, too, were wide of the mark : 

" I must not forget to warn Gwendolen that you can- 
not take iron. You never could. It always made your 
head ache. And I wonder if she knows how to bandage. 
You remember how I bandaged your arm that time you 
hurt it so badly? Doctor Harkness said I did it well. 
Every one ought to know how to bandage." 

" By Jove ! " — his eyes were still narrowed specu- 
latively — " if I didn't come back ! There is almost some- 
thing awful in getting a girl's love like that. Hardly 
seems right. Why, I'd die a thousand times over to save 
her pain. And here this damnable war — of nobody's . 
making Sometimes, do you know, I'm not alto- 
gether sure it wouldn't be the finer thing to stay at 
home " 



224 WAR STORIES 

His mother's eyes were on him strangely now. " My 
son, you couldn't honorably," she said, softly, as though 
to herself. " I couldn't let you. It's a mother's duty to 
give even that — even her son." 

" That may be," he said, with a little laugh, " but it 
is different with her. I tell you. Mater, you can't realize 
how she loves me ! " 

His mother started slightly and took an anxious look 
at him. He seemed to her strangely changed. They had 
never spoken in this \v21y nor of such things together. 

" Why, yes, I could ; I could let you stay at home." 
She glanced anxiously toward the shadows, almost as 
though some one might have overheard her. "Or you 
and I could go away somewhere together. We could 
simply say " 

" I was in jest," he said, abruptly. 

She walked away from him. " But aren't we foolish 
to talk so gloomily ! Here, my dear, take your toddy." 

He allowed her to put the glass in his hand. He held 
it on his knee, still looking glazedly into the fire. His 
mother walked away from him again into the shadows of 
the big room and up and down slowly, quite apart from 
him. Once she raised her eyes in a kind of mute 
horror in the shadows, and put her gaunt hands over her 
face. 

" We mustn't be gloomy," she murmured, " but oh, it 
would be horrible, horrible ! " She began her walk again. 
As she came near to him he heard her words the plainer 
that they were so soft : " You see, she is young and 
fresh — she has her whole life ahead of her. I don't mean 
it would be easy — but in time " 

" It would kill her," he said, distinctly. 

She paused and then resumed her steps. " Oh, no, it 
wouldn't; no, it wouldn't, my. son." Her voice was 
gentle, monotonous. " She would take it fearfully to 
heart one year, two years. But she is young. Men do 
not understand. There is one kind of love that you may 
get over — there is another that you never, never, never 
can. She would travel and study and meet new people, 
and have other men to love her." 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 225 



His voice struck out sharply : 

" Mummy ! " 

She was near him. She came to his side. Her voice, 
though it had in it something far off, was full of anxious 
apology. 

" Now, my dear, it's too absurd to suppose I meant 
any one could ever be to her what you are! But you 
know perfectly well what I mean. Study and travel and 

new people, and You see, she is young. Compare 

her with me, for instance. I'm old ; at least Fm getting 
old. I would never care to travel. I am too old to 

undertake such things. And study So many studies 

open nowadays to young people — law, and medicine, and 
suffrage, and day nurseries — a thousand interests." 

" Mummy ! " He turned in his chair but she was at 
the other end of the room. Certainly she was talking a 
little daft. He returned to the fire. Gwendolen study 
medicine! Good Lord! The pink-and- white perfection 
of her! 

His mother came again to his side. Her voice was 
easy, conciliatory, explanatory. " I mean just this : there 
are so many general interests for young people. That's 
what I mean. Lectures, you know, a hundred more 
things. Now I had a very good education in my day, 
but think what a foolish spectacle it would be for me to 
study now — at my age. I'm too old to have any in- 
terest in study at all. Then, you see, she's got her music. 
Now, of course, I can play only those few little things, 
' Flow Gently, Sweet Afton,' and the * Cachucha,' and 
* The Fisher's Hornpipe ' — the things your father used 
to like. And even if I could, my hands are getting stiff, 
really quite stiff." She rubbed one hand absently over 
the other. 

He was thinking suddenly of the " Chopin thing," and 
the " Grieg," and the adorable droop of Gwendolen's face 
above the keyboard, and the way her hand, white as a 
tube-rose, small and sweet, reached down reverently for 
the last note, and stayed there a moment before it dropped 
at last by her side. 

" Don't you see ? " his mother was saying, and was 



226 WAR STORIES 

walking away from him again. " Surely you see. She's 
got her music." 

Merington turned and looked at the retreating figure. 
He was keenly sensible, for the first time, how stooped 
the shoulders were, how old she looked. He felt the 
unreasoning revulsion with which the mind defends itself 
against a too keen feeling of pity. How utterly without 
grace old people can be ! 

" She's got her music," his mother was saying again. 
"And there are other people coming into her life every 
day. Whereas when a woman marries and has chil- 
dren Of course, some people trust their cnildren to 

nurses. I never could. I never went anywhere. I've 
never really gone anywhere to speak of since you were 
a baby. But she is so young. She would go among 
people all the while. And some day, just as I did, she 
would marry some fine man and have a child, and " 

Merington rose, stung, bewildered, shocked, angry. 
He could hardly believe he heard aright. His hand on 
the back of the chair trembled, and his voice trembled 
a little, too. 

" Mummy ! You're making a great success of this ! 
For a man to love a girl, by Jove ! like that, and be 
ordered away to war, and to have his own mother take 
the trouble to tell him that if he's killed the girl is going 
to console herself strumming Chopin and Grieg, meet- 
ing people, loving another fellow — yes, and marrying 

him and having children " His words broke. He 

glanced angrily at the floor, then back angrily at her. 
" It's too much of a success you're making ! " 

This was his exact speech. He could have told it to 
you himself, up to the day of his death, word for word, 
accent for accent. 

His mother stopped. The train of her dressing-gown 
seemed to shrink hurriedly about her feet, as frightened 
as herself. She stood with a dazed look in her eyes, and 
said, softly: 

" Reginald ! You couldn't think I meant to rob you. 
You couldn't think I meant she does not love vou, better 
than any one ! Of course she does ! Why, if you did not 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 227 

come back — o£ course you will! It would be too hor- 
rible! But i£ you didn't — you would break her heart. 
Just think what it would mean to her! Of course I 
didn't mean that! But I couldn't help seeing that, no 
matter how broken-hearted she might be — there are other 
things ; never just the same things — no one like you ever 

in all the wide world, of course — but Why, she had 

that lame brother to love, if it's no one else. She is young ; 
she is beautiful; she has soft hands; she has her own 
self to look at in the glass." She looked around the 
room. " She has many, many interests — she has music. 

I only meant that if it happened It won't!" — she 

raised her thin hands a little, as though forbidding heaven 
to admit the bare thought. "But if it happened, I'd — 
I'd have — nothing! She has known you just one year, 
one year this midsummer, at Henley, wasn't it? And 
don't you see for twenty-eight years and all the nine wait- 
ing months before, I've had you — only you-^nobody else ; 
no other interests in the world ; only you filling my life. 
I don't mean — ^you couldn't think I meant, what you said. 
But look around my life. Is there anything else in it? 

Isn't it bare, perfectly bare, except Don't you see ? 

Don't you see ? " 

She looked all around the big bare room outside him- 
self and the grate-shadows, as though to show him the 
emptiness. 

But Merington's eyes were on her, and his old self 
was rushing back, rushing back stumblingly. Good God ! 
Could he have been as dull and as brutal as that! He 
stalked over to the slender, lonely figure and put his arms 
about it. He drew her over tenderly to the chair in 
front of the fire. Then he got down on his knees some- 
how beside her. He had never done such a thing before, 
yet it came easy to him now. 

" Mummy," he said, kissing the thin fingers and then 
reverently her wedding-ring, " of course I know what 
you mean ! " He patted the delicate veined hand with 
little soft pats such as he might possibly have given it as 
a child, but never since. 

She looked uncertain, not sure of anything, very un- 



228 WAR STORIES 

used to such demonstration. She seemed to want to 
explain it all to him again, but he had explanations to 
make of his own. 

" Did you think I imagined I'd ever get from anybody 
else such love as you've given me all these years ? " He 
spoke eagerly. He looked solemnly into the fire. " No 
other woman on earth will ever give me such as that." 

She groped her other hand along the chair-arm and 
put it on top of his own. The little act was greatly 
demonstrative in a woman of her type. 

" Oh, I didn't mean, my dear, that she doesn't love 
you better than she loves any one in the world," she said, 
insistingly. 

" But, Mummy, how could she love me as well as you 
do? Everybody knows what a mother's love is. That is 
a thing you don't even have to talk about. Everybody 
knows." 

The lines were altering in her face. Something — an 
expression, a shade of happiness — something was coming 
into it. Perhaps he did understand, in a way, as much 
as a woman can ever expect her children to understand. 

" Why, I was talking to Barton the other day," he ran 
on — " you remember Barton, don't you ? Barton who 
went to Spain, you know, to study Spanish literature and 
the history and all that. Well, Barton was telling me an 
old Spanish folk story, and, by Jove! do you know it 
impressed me a lot. It was about a man who loved a 
girl — and she put him to several severe tests to prove his 
love for her. Well, he met them all — glad to, you know. 
Then, by and by " — he looked into the fire again and 
dwelt a little on the words, as a good teller of tales would 
do, though he had never before told a tale in his life. 
His mother watched him, as absorbed as a child. He 
began again impressively — " By and by, as a supreme test, 
she asked him to bring her in a silver casket the heart of 
his mother ! " 

She gave a little shocked start. " Oh, my dear ! " 

" Well," Merington again slowed down, well pleased 
with himself and with her attention. " Yes, if you will 
believe me, the brute even did that. Yes, he did." An- 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 229 

other pause, and then lightly, almost glibly: "And then 
do you know what happened ? On the road " — this more 
slowly and very tellingly — " while he was taking the heart 
of his mother to the girl he loved — ^he stumbled and fell, 
somehow. And right away, from inside the casket, he 
heard the voice of his mother's heart crying out, dis- 
tressed : ' Oh, my son ! my son ! Hast thou hurt thy- 
self?'" 

Merington, really pleased with himself, left the tale 
there, where it fell in dramatic silence. There was noth- 
ing to be said ; the story said it all. To tell the truth, his 
mother scarcely grasped it. It was to her son rather 
than the story that she was listening; she was tasting 
anew the old, unbelievable wonder — that this grown 
young man, with his heavy hair and broad shoulders, was 
the same as the little son of old, once wholly dependent 
on her. He noticed her abstraction. 

" That's what mother love is like," he said, with a 
fine finality. 

" Well, of course," she reiterated, " I've had you all 
these years. Of course a mother never calls such things 
sacrifices, but I've done — I've done a good many little 
things for you." 

He put his head back and laughed — a short, hearty 
laugh. She was delicious in her naivete. He could see 
now why his father had loved her. 

"Well, I should say you have! Haven't you nursed 
me through the measles and scarlatina and mumps and 
malaria? And do you think I'd ever get any other 
human being in the world to do for me all that you have 
done?" 

" Oh, well, dear, a wife's duties are very great — very 
sacred." She could afford to be a little generous now. 

" Oh, but Mummy, no man with a mother like you ex- 
pects his wife to do for him what his mother did." They 
sat a moment silent. He recalled the cruelty of his first 
rebuke, the harsh words he had spoken. " Mummy, 
dear," he said, slowly, " I want to tell you something. 
You must never think that I love her as I love you. I 
love her as a man ought to love the woman he marries, 



230 WAR STORIES 

but no one tells you you've got to love the woman you 
marry as you love the woman who brought you up. 
The Bible tells you you've got to leave your motiier and 
father and cleave to her, and that's a good precaution to 
keep a man from running back to his mother." He 
smiled a liitle at his own cleverness. " But that's not 
meaning a man loves his wife better than his mother. 
Why, just think how long you've had me! As a rule, a 
man has only known a girl a year or two." Merington 
felt very clever somehow in handing back her own argu- 
ment, with the handle turned toward her. 

" Well, of course," his mother said, slipping her hand 
up to his head, " it really isn't like being a mother. You 
see, I've had both." (He winced secretly at the implied 
and absurd assumption that she had ever loved his father 
as Gwendolen loved him.) " Gwendolen will understand 
that herself after a while. I know she loves you. But 
she has never watched you grow each day, nor helped 
you to learn to walk, nor bought you toys, nor waited for 
you after school. You see, I was always horribly afraid 
something might happen " 

" No ; and she hasn't nursed me through croup and 
measles and heaven knows what," he said, indulgently, 
rubbing one big hand comfortingly over her thin ones. 

She sat a moment looking into the fire. She had hardly 
dreamed life could be so good. At last she got up. He 
got up, too, and put his arms around her. Bending back 
her head, he kissed her on the lips as she had never before 
been kissed in her life. It was a kiss — he knew this with 
a clear disloyal consciousness — such as he gave oiily to 
the one woman he loved. 

She put her arms about and clung to him passion- 
ately. " I've been foolish, so foolish ! " she murmured. 
She brushed one hand over her eyes. " It's the first 
time I've ever talked like this to you or to any one. 
We don't usually talk to our children this way. 
But to-night — the thought of your going away — of your 
perhaps ' " 

He broke in on her words very nearly gaily. " But I 
am coming back to you ! " Then, very soberly, " But if 



THE BOY'S MOTHER 231 

I don't — listen You'll remember that I love you 

best ! You'll never, never forget that ! " 

" Oh, my dear " (how generous she could afford to be 
now !), " I wouldn't say that ! It might — I don't see how 
it ever could, but it just might — get back to Gwendolen." 
She clung to him an instant, then she slipped away, took 
up the untouched toddy from the table and again handed 
it to him, and said the little commonplace things that 
crowd in after great moments. " Take this, my dear ; it 
will make you sleep." 

" Yes, I will take it right away," he promised, and 
smiled. 

She left him and went to the door. He sat down in 
his armchair facing the fire. With his fingers still 
around the glass he waited tensely for the click of the 
latch of her door down the hall. At last he heard it snap 
softly. Then he pushed the glass away from him. He 
put out a big shaking hand, drew the framed photograph 
of the shy-eyed girl of eighteen toward him until it was 
hid against his breast, ran his fingers up into his thick 
hair, bowed his head on his arms like a man in some 
agony and said softly : 

" Oh, my dear, I can't, I can't, I can't leave you ! " 

When Lieutenant Brookby dragged Merington back 
from the charge in which his men had behaved like the 
Englishmen they were, he was staggering badly himself. 
He stopped a moment for breath, took his friend under 
the armpits again, and dragged him a few yards further. 
When he had at last got him behind a rock, Brookby 
staggered around a little dizzily, and finally settled down 
hard beside him. There was a dead silence between 
them for a space, except one, a gruff " Damn it ! " from 
Brookby when he flung some blood from his hand as it 
trickled from a wound in his breast. His lips were be- 
ginning to be drawn back. 

" Say, Merington, if you get there, go to see her, will 

you? Tell her No, there is no need; she knows. 

But tell her Oh, good God ! the little chap ! " 

Merington opened his eyes heavily and looked at his 



232 WAR STORIES 

friend. "That bad? Oh, no, I won't get there. But 
maybe you will, after all. Say, Brookby, if you do, there 
are two women, you understand; two. You'll find their 
names here." He felt blindly for his breast. " I'd like 
you to tell 'em both — the same thing. See? Tell each 
of them I loved her best. Do you understand? Tell 

each of them that when I was dying See ? It was 

with her name You understand ? You're not to let 

the*other one know " 

Brookby did not lift his eyes from the trickling blood 
now. It seemed to have fascinated him. 

" I'll be damned ! " he said, thickly. " The little chap 
is eleven weeks old to-day." His knees and arms con- 
tracted in a spasm of pain. He turned over on his face 
and clutched at the ground. " But I'm damned proud 
there's no one else but the boy's mother." 

Merington's lips were black. They drew together, and 
once he said, " My dear, I can't ! " Then they opened 
over his white teeth and remained so. 



*The Sixth Man 

The Last Touch to a World Tragedy 

By George Palmer Putnam 

In November, 1915, 1 went to Paris, and from there to 
the Divisional Headquarters of one of the French gen- 
erals close up to a certain sector of the Western Front. 
The general, typically courteous, was more than willing 
to meet us half-way in certain negotiations, and very 
quickly our interview was completed. I arose then, to 
withdraw. 

" Monsieur K," said the general, " you were in Bel- 
gium last month ? " 

I nodded. 

" Good. Pray sit down." He motioned me to a chair. 
I was puzzled, and flattered. Generals are busy men, 
with little time for chance civilians. 

" Monsieur " — the old fellow spoke with a sort of 
grave hesitancy^ — " you may be able to assist me. Were 
you " — his fine gray eyes bored straight into me — " in 
Brussels on October twelfth ? " 

In all the calendar of my life that date can never be 
forgotten. Something of that must have shown in my 
face, for he nodded as much as to say, " I thought so." 

" Now can you tell me, m'sieur, any German deed of 
bravery on that day in Brussels which would have 
merited the Order of St. George? " 

I knew the Order and what it stood for: one of the 
most coveted of German military honors. But, familiar 
as I really was with the events of those trying days in 

* By permission of The Ladies^ Home youmal and George Palmer 
Putnam. Copyright, 19 18, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 



234 WAR STORIES 

and around the Belgian capital, I could recollect no such 
outstanding act as would have won this signal honor. It 
was scarcely conceivable that the Order of St. George 
would have been awarded without official Brussels — in- 
cluding those associated with the legations — knowing of 
it, for such news travels fast. 

" You see the matter is somewhat peculiar," continued 
the general, after my negative reply. " Having no source 
of information covering such a point — my command is, 
of course, far removed from Brussels — I ventured to 
question you, hoping you might be able to help solve a 
little puzzle which our friends the Germans have set be- 
fore me." 

I expressed polite regret. 

" What would you make of it," he continued after an 
abstracted pause, " if you received information coming 
directly through enemy channels, disclosing the presence 
of a German spy behind our lines ? " 

"A trap," I offered. 

" That appeared likely at first, but there is nothing to 
substantiate it. I will be frank. I am talking to you 
in your private capacity as an American citizen, and ally 
of the near future." He held up his hand deprecatingly. 
" Oh, yes, it is coming, and pray God it may be soon ! " 

Then he told me that on the previous day a German 
airman, daredeviling behind the French. lines in the shelter 
of low afternoon clouds, had dropped a small box in the 
village headquarters. It contained an envelope directed 
to the commanding general, which a sergeant of the mili- 
tary police brought in. 

" Inside that envelope," the general explained, " was a 
brief statement setting forth that in a certain company 
of a certain regiment was a German spy. It described 
his appearance, finishing with the assertion that he car- 
ried on his person the decoration of the Order of St. 
George. In an hour we had our man. The medal was 
found sewed in the lining of his French uniform ; and it 
was actually the only conclusive evidence of his identity. 
Here it is." 

The general handed me the decoration, its ribbon some- 



THE SIXTH MAN 235 

what crumpled. On the reverse side of the bronze medal- 
lion was inscribed the usual line : " For Courageous Devo- 
tion to the Fatherland." And below appeared the words : 
" Brussels, October twelfth, Nineteen Hundred and Fif- 
teen " — all, of course, in German. 

Pondering this, I mechanically turned the medal over 
and saw the name! I nearly dropped the medal to the 
floor ! 

"Ah, you know Herr Lieutenant Hans Oberhanzen ? " 

" No," I stammered. 

"Ah ! " He was the most self-controlled Frenchman I 
ever met. 

But I was not considering him just then. My tumultu- 
ous thoughts were back in Brussels, in that little court- 
yard of the St. Gilles prison. I could see it all — gray, 
wet and cold, with dawn just breaking; the frail* English 
woman, Edith Cavell, her eyes hidden by the white band- 
age, backed against the wall, and the six German soldiers 
with their rifles leveled at her breast, and hearing the 
voice of the young officer, a bit more guttural than usual : 
" Fire ! " 

" You will understand my natural curiosity to learn 
the nature of the lieutenant's gallantry." The general 
spoke evenly, as if quite oblivious of the emotion written 
large upon my face. I believe I was actually perspiring. 

" Perhaps I can tell you." Fate seemed to have given 
me the key to the astounding situation; the thing was 
gruesomely clear. 

"Ah!" He pressed together the finger tips of his 
handsome, well-kept hands. 

" The herr lieutenant evidently won the approval of his 
sovereign, even though the token of it was secretly be- 
stowed." 

"And the twelfth of October? " The brows over those 
fine gray eyes rose questioningly. 

II The day of the shooting of Edith Cavell ! " 

"Ah ! " there was poignant vibrance in his tone. His 
eyes held mine, as the full meaning dawned upon him. 

" Yes " — I cleared my throat — " she was executed that 
morning by order of the military governor — shot to 



^ ft 
» 



236 WAR STORIES 

death — against a wall " My voice trailed off. The 

picture of it was so vividly real. 

"And now," I proceeded, " now they're putting the last 
touches to the tragedy. Dead men tell no tales, you 
know." 

" But if his act merited the decoration of St. George, 
said the general, " why do they want him killed now ? 

Knowing what I did, the explanation was simple 
enough. 

" Call it change of heart, for lack of a better name," I 
replied. " The Germans expected the execution would 
crush their adversaries. They thought it a splendidly 
horrible example, calculated to break the back of opposi- 
tion, and especially the troublesome civilian activities 
such as spying and sniping. But they were blind and the 
news spread terrible anger through Belgium, instead of 
fear. It roused England as almost nothing else had done ; 
recruiting jumped. The world, instead of being im- 
pressed, was nauseated. And, quite too late, German 
officialdom realized something of its awful error. The 
deed could not be undone, but at least it seemed wise to 
stifle for all time the few men who knew just why 
and how the death sentence was carried out and where 
the ultimate responsibility rested." 

I paused. 

"Ah ! " The general drew in his breath. He seemed 
to understand. 

" Now they've made the lieutenant a spy and then be- 
trayed him. Already five of the six men of the firing 
squad are dead. That I know positively." 

The gray eyes were fixed on me, a speculative, odd 
look in their depths. But he was a French gentleman, 
an officer of the Republic, and asked no questions. 

" Let us," said he after some thought, " have the lieu- 
tenant here. I will appreciate it if you will stay; per- 
haps, as you Americans express it, you can joggle his 
memory." 

As the lieutenant entered, he saluted smartly in the 
German way and stood at attention. The sergeant and 
two poilus in charge of him withdrew. 



THE SIXTH MAN 237 

" Do you know this gentleman ? " The general faced 
the lieutenant with the brisk question. 

The lieutenant shook his head. 

" That is true," said I, responding to a glance of inter- 
rogation. 

** So ? " Small wonder he was puzzled. 

Oberhanzen himself was typical of hundreds of yoimg 
Prussians of the overbearing upper class — well set up, 
thick-necked, with a pink face educated into hardness 
and disdain. His eyes were small, I remember, and just 
then a little furtive, in a wolfish way. But outwardly he 
was frigidly self-possessed. Which was rather plucky, 
at that, as he knew from experience what happens to 
spies, and how promptly it occurs. 

" Do you still refuse to tell where you secured the 
uniform?" 

" That I cannot." The German's voice was steady, 
and his jaws clicked together in a determined way. 

" And how you got into our lines ? " 

He was silent, motionless, as if he did not hear. In- 
stead of pressing the point, the general laid the medal 
of the Order of St. George on the table before him, 
placing beside it a sheet of paper taken from the table 
drawer. The prisoner's lips parted ; I thought he would 
speak. 

" Yes ? " said the general encouragingly. 

" Monsieur le General " — there was the slightest tremor 
in the Prussian's voice — " may I ask how you knew I 
had that? It — -" 

He checked himself there, on the point of saying, 
apparently, that it was the discovery of the medal and 
almost that alone which brought about his detection. 
Be that as it may, he eyed it as covetously as ever I saw 
a man regard the object of his desire. In his code it 
was worth a dozen deaths. 

" Herr Lieutenant," responded the general gravely, 
" I will tell you that, and gladly, when you inform me 
for what patriotic act you received the decoration on the 
twelfth of October." 

There was that about the gray-eyed officer, a some- 



238 WAR STORIES 

thing metallic in the timbre of his voice, which struck his 
hearer. The wolf eyes wavered. The muscles along 
the jowls stood out, the jaws beneath them clenched in 
silence. 

" You will not tell ? Very good, / will tell you, then. 
Herr Lieutenant Oberhanzen " — the general was cold as 
steel now — " on the morning of October twelfth a deed 
was done at Brussels for which your emperor awarded 
the Order of St. George. It was the shooting of Edith 
Cavell ! " ^ 

A sneering, contemptuous sound, intended for a laugh, 
came from the prisoner. " I know nothing of what you 
say ; I care not." 

" That I do not doubt — that you care little." The gen- 
eral continued : " It really makes slight difference from 
your standpoint. A spy! Well, it is quickly over." 
As he clicked his tongue, a tremor ran through the 
Prussian's erect figure. " My inquiries are — shall we 
say in the nature of research? After dawn to-morrow 
no* record will remain of an act which will be remem- 
bered as one of the sorriest of modern history. That 
is a pity. It would be so very interesting to know some- 
thing of its details." 

" It is absurd. You waste your time." Beneath Ober- 
hanzen's coldness one could glimpse the hot fusing, deep 
down in him, of anger and bewilderment. Then he played 
a last card — a magnificent bit of bluff. "All I know," 
said he with a leer, " is that no witnesses remain." 

"Ah ! Then you do know about it ? " 

" Certainly ! " The wolf eyes were downright angry 
now. " We all knew — and were happy because a fitting 
end had come to a sneaking " 

" Easy there ! " I broke in. " Easy. You're talking 
about a woman, a dead woman ! " For the life of me 
I could not keep silent. 

"And you — who are you?" He turned on me in a 
flash, snarling, all the mask of disciplined poise fallen 
from him, seeming more than ever like a wolf — a trapped 
wolf at bay. " What do you know of this ? " 

" I know about as much as you do ! " I blazed back 



THE SIXTH MAN 239 

at him. And then, remembering my manners, I turned 
to the general with a word of apology. But that excellent 
gentleman with his imperturbable gray eyes flashed for 
me to continue, to have my say. 

" Herr Lieutenant " — I am free to confess my voice 
shook — " I know much of you and your Order of St. 
George. I know how you stood at the left of your firing 
squad of si:x men there in the courtyard of St. Gilles " — 
he winced at that — " and ordered them to fire. I know 
that you then stepped over to the body, crumpled on the 
wet pavement, and tore a piece from the dress of the 
woman whose soul had risen — for a souvenir ! " 

"Ah ! " I could hear the repressed exclamation of the 
Frenchman at my elbow. But my attention was on the 
man before nje. The wolf eyes were glaring now, 
dilated. 

"And then," I continued, " then all at once you noticed 
that the plaster on the wall at the side of where the 
woman had stood was nicked and, looking closer, you dis- 
covered that a bullet had struck therd The dust and 
particles were quite dry, despite the wet mist which had 
soaked everything else. So you knew it was one of the 
bullets which had just been fired. Quickly, then, you 
examined the body, finding only five wounds. Unques- 
tionably one of your men had deliberately aimed well to 
the side. And that, Herr Lieutenant, made you angry, 
very angry." 

" Lieber Gott!" The low words escaped the set lips 
of the Prussian. 

" One man of the six had committed a crime, a grave 
military crime. He had disobeyed orders. But which 
one ? Ah, there was the difficulty ! And by that time 
your firing squad had gone. Am I right, Herr Lieu- 
tenant ? " 

I thought he would jump at my throat. But his only 
movement was to wet his lips. 

" You reported at once. Orders went out to reassemble 
the men of the firing squad, but that took time, as they 
had been chosen from various commands and immediately 
after the execution had been sent back to their regiments, 



240 WAR STORIES 

each sternly warned never to mention what he had seen. 
But in the course of the day — that day when you quietly 
went to Grand Headquarters to receive this token of the 
Emperor's approval" — I held the decoration before him — 
" there were rounded up only five of those six men. Do 
you see now, Herr Lieutenant ? You did not know that 
the sixth man was never found." 

"And you?" The wolf eyes of Lieutenant Oberhanzen 
bored into me, fairly devouring my features. But dis- 
appointment and doubt were written in them; he could 
not recall ; he could be sure of nothing. 

Wiih a curl of his lips for me, he faced the general 
then. He was the color of clay, but held himself rigid. 
" It is true." That was all he said. Then he saluted, 
and turned to the door and what lay beyond it for him. 

" One moment, Herr Lieutenant," the general checked 
him. " You have told me. I will tell you now what you 
asked : how we knew that you carried the Order of St. 
George. Here ! " He handed the prisoner the written 
sheet before hin!. "A German airman dropped it in the 
village." 

We watched the face of that betrayed soldier, marvel- 
ing at his self-control. The disciplined Prussian — just 
then the look of the wolf was clearer than ever in his 
eyes — never wavered. I don't think his hand even shook. 

It seemed an age to us. He drank in the meaning of 
that message. He understood, of course, at a glance — 
and God knows what bitter hate must have burned 
within him! Then a little spot of color — amazingly 
bright it was in contrast to the chalkiness — crept out on 
each cheek. I noticed, too, that drops of perspiration 
were on his forehead. Most unforgetable of all, the teeth 
in front were biting the inside of his lower lip, grinding a 
piece of it, while a tiny spurt of blood oozed from his 
mouth. 

Then, taking from the table the decoration of the Order 
of St. George, the general held it out toward the spy. 
" Here ! Take it ! It is yours." Lieutenant Oberhanzen 
took it mechanically, like a man moving in sleep. And 
then he went out, his head erect. 



THE SIXTH MAN 241 






ff 
ft 



I thought," observed the general when he was gone, 

he'd like that about his neck; he appeared much at- 
tached to it." 

While my friend was telling me this story I held in m^ 
hand the decoration he had passed to me. I examined it 
again. Its ribbon, I noted, was stained dark. 

" Blood," explained my friend. " Lieutenant Ober- 
hanzen was placed in a guard tent in a small barbed-wire 
corral. But that night a chance bomb from a German 
taube — out gunning for headquarters, probably — dropped 
on the corral. Two soldiers on guard and the lieutenant 
were killed instantly. The general told me to keep the 
decoration." 

" But how in the world did you know those details 
about the execution? You weren't — surely your special 
work doesn't make a man go to such lengths as thatf 

" Evidently the old general had some such notion, 
replied my friend with a bit of a smile. " No. That 
would be stretching things too far — and over-dangerous. 
I couldn't tell him, but I can tell you." He paused then 
and, taking the decoration from my hands, he wrapped 
the stained silken ribbon about the medal and deposited it 
in his vest pocket. 

" I could not speak before, because the man who told 
me what occurred at the shooting was still alive ; at least, 
I thought he was. And it did no harm to let Lieutenant 
Oberhanzen think that perhaps / was that sixth man 
whom they never found. But the truth is that the sixth 
member of the firing squad came to me immediately after 
the execution. His name doesn't matter; he was an 
honest, decent German clerk. He told me everything, 
all the beastly details, even how the lieutenant snatched a 
piece of the woman's dress as a souvenir. The rest of 
it — what occurred after the firing squad withdrew — I 
guessed, and from the look of Oberhanzen's face I evi- 
dently came pretty close to the truth. 

" What happened to this sixth man ? 

" That is the point ; that is why I couldn't speak before. 
You see, we were neutral then, yet I committed a very 
unneutral act — one far worse than that for which Edith 






242 WAR STORIES 

Cavell died. The soldier clerk told me how he had fired 
at the wall, that he could not send his bullet into the 
woman. But, having done it, he was overwhelmed with 
fear. He had a most positive presentiment that his act 
would be discovered, and we both knew what that meant, 
although we had no idea then that a wholesale destruc- 
tion of the participants had been planned." 

" You helped him escape ? " 

" Exactly. He was hidden in my rooms until arrange- 
ments were made for him to reach a vessel going to the 
United States. .It was not until months later — long after 
my meeting with the general — that I learned his boat had 
been sent to the bottom by a German submarine. He was 
drowned." 

" Extraordinary ! " 

" Quite so." My friend lit a cigarette thoughtfully. 
" Fate apparently marked every man connected with the 
execution of that nurse. Each died at German hands. 
General von Sauberschweig, the military governor, was 
retired shortly afterward and there is an odd story of 
his having been accidentally killed while shooting on his 
estate near Baden. 

" Only one man remains — the man by whose order this 
decoration was conferred : the Kaiser ; and I wonder how 
his time will come ! " 



*The Godson of Jeannette Gontreau 

By Francis Wiluam Sullivan 



At five-fifteen every afternoon Jeannette Gontreau 
pressed the button to stop the dictating machine, removed 
the receiver from' her dark hair and became conscious 
of something in the world besides Mr. Frederick Arm- 
strong's monotonous voice. She then put away her para- 
phernalia, covered her typewriter and brought her day's 
work for the Universal Advertising Company to a full 
and artistic stop precisely at five-thirty. 

This dark afternoon of mid- January she was inclined 
vto hurry the proceeding, for, some hours before, gazing 
from her lofty aerie on lower Broadway, she had ob- 
served a Scandinavian mail ship plow up the Hudson to 
its berth in Hoboken, and she knew that letters from her 
godsons ought to be awaiting her at home ; one at least — 
perhaps two or three. And life for Jeannette Gontreau 
began and ended with those godsons — as the war has 
named them — those four wretched prisoners her letters 
kept alive in German concentration camps. 

But now, as usual, she restrained her impatience, for 
when lives hang on twenty dollars a week one must 
fulfil their every requirement. She had just settled her 
last year's hat on her head with a chic effect when the 
buzzer from Mr. Armstrong's office sounded. Jeannette's 
eyes flashed rebelliously and her red lips compressed. 
Nevertheless, she answered the summons, walking with 
the light, quick grace that was an inheritance from her 
father, Major Gontreau, Legion of Honor, deceased six 
months before. 

Armstrong, tipped back in his chair with his hands 

* By permission of T^ Ladies* Honie Journal and Francis W. Sulli- 
van. Copyright, 19 17, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 



244 WAR STORIES 

clasped behind his head, smiled at her as she entered. He 
was a man of about forty, with a ruddy face, brown hair 
and an inclination to stoutness. Jeannette had been his 
stenographer during the two years he had been with the 
company, and their satisfaction with the arrangement was 
mutual — he with her work, she with her rather higher 
salary than the average. Now he glanced behind her to 
see that the door was shut. 

"Well, how's the Grand Army, Miss Gontreau?" he 
asked in the manner of a genial conspirator. This was 
the ordinary method of reference to the godsons. " Had 
any more letters?" 

Instantly the cool, self-sufficient business girl, as thor- 
oughly American as her mother had been, disappeared. 
Jeannette's face lighted, she smiled, her eyes grew tender, 
mature ; in short, she became a godmother. " Didn't I 
show you the one I got two weeks ago from Ledyard ? " 

" He's the American in the Foreign Legion, isn't he ? " 
said Armstrong soberly. Then his eyes began to twinkle. 
" Does he still believe that you are about fifty and have 
gray hair and rheumatism ? " 

" Oh, yes ! I have to tell them that. If I didn't they 
wouldn't confide in me and I couldn't help them. Imagine 
their knowing that / was their godmother." She laughed. 
"And that reminds me there ought to be letters from them 
to-night." She settled her worn pony coat and muff ; 
then: "If there's nothing else, Mr. Armstrong " 

" Only this," he said, taking a check from the desk and 
handing it to her. " That's what I called you in for." 
It was his monthly contribution to the support of her 
Grand Army, the only reenforcement to the savings from 
her wages. 

" Oh, thanks ! " she cried with swift gratitude. " I 
don't know what I'd do without this ! Please let me tell 
the boys " 

" No," he said peremptorily. " Helping this way, I 
have fun, but it would spoil it for me if I had to be 
thanked and all that rot. Let me know when you're 
going to pack the next box and I'll come down and help 
you — if it's any help." 





GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 245 

This was the extent of Armstrong's personal efforts for 
the "Army." He was a bachelor, and more than once 
Jeannette had tried to determine whether or not his 
monthly box-packing visits were due to interest in herself 
or in her charity. 

" Oh, it's a great help, really," she replied to Arm- 
strong's deprecation. " Please come. And I'll show you 
the letters to-morrow if there are any." She opened the 
office door and smiled back at him. " Good-night." 

II 

The moment of leaving the office every evening was to 
Jeannette the moment of release into her chosen world. 
To-night she was oblivious of the January cold and the 
home-going crush on the elevated train. 

She left the car at Fourteenth Street and, walking back 
to Twelfth, turned east and let herself into Mrs. Tibbitts' 
well-known hallway. During the five years since her 
mother's death this place had been home to Jeannette and 
her father, and it was still her home now that she was 
alone. Mrs. Tibbitts kept a rather meddlesome but 
really fond eye upon her, and Mrs. Tibbitts alone— except 
for Mr. Armstrong — knew of the Grand Army. 

By the flickering gas-light Jeannette examined the wire 
mail racks against the wall and gave a little cry of delight 
as she took down a square envelope addressed in a 
familiar bold chirography and closed at the top by a strip 
bearing the words " Opened by the Censor." 

Excitedly she hurried up to her room on the top floor, 
a room whose size compensated for its altitude, and which 
boasted two windows, pink-flowered wall paper and a 
green carpet. This apartment was known as " Grand 
Headquarters." 

Throwing off her things, Jeannette crossed to a small 
black desk and sat down with the letter in her hand. 
But before opening it she lifted her eyes to the photo- 
graphs of five men that adorned the wall above. Top- 
most was her father in his French uniform, his cross of 
the Legion of Honor on his breast — a sardonic face with 
fierce white mustaches and piercing black eyes. Retired 



246 WAR STORIES 

because of a wound received in Algiers, he had come to 
New York as representative of a Paris commercial house, 
and at forty had married his American secretary. 

Beneath him, two on a side, were the members of the 
Grand Army, Jeannette's memorial to him : big, dreaming 
Feodor; Paul, slim and sickly; Anatole, his dark face 
emotional even in repose; and Ledyard. 

Her eyes rested longest on Ledyard. Even in the uni- 
form of his training days — fie had had no picture taken 
since — he was not handsome. But it was a pleasant, 
youthful face in which the lurking humor about the 
mouth set off the earnestness that had led him to enlist 
in the Foreign Legion after two years as a student of 
architecture in Paris. 

Musing, dreaming a little, she studied him. Then she 
opened his letter and drew out the two crowded pages 
of minute writing with their accompanying green ad- 
dressed envelope inclosed by the Germans for her reply. 
She read : 

Wittenberg Camp, Germany. 
December 2, 1916. 

Very Dear Godmother: Your last letter arrived safely, and 
so finally did your box with all the good things in it. As a 
result our godmother is exalted very high in Hut No. 3. At 
sight of the box Anatole — who is sitting on his straw bag in 
the corner making you an aluminum ring set with tricolor 
stones — Anatole wept. So did I, both out of courtesy to my 
superior officers, and because the sight of so many good 
things all at once is rather unnerving here. But we recovered 
quickly, for at last we had some use for that blessed little 
stove with its canned heat you sent us. 

That stove is the envy of the hut. When the other chaps 
who, like myself, have lost an arm or something and can't 
work, get tired staring through the barbed wire at the flat 
muddy fields with their patches of snow, they come in and 
moon at that stove. Ah, godmother, were one to spend the 
rest of his life he couldn't express enough gratitude for the 
dear, infinitely merciful thing you are doing! 

Pardon this gush, but your gray hair and rheumatic years 
invite the indulgence, since, after all, you are the nearest 
approach to a mother I have. And for that reason Anatole 
and I can't forgive you for not sending us your photograph. 
We would build a shrine for it here, we would I 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 247 

Your news that Jim and Nellie and the little girls are doing 
so well relieves my mind. I am sure that if they will only 
persevere, the hsfrd times will soon be over. Pardon, I am 
called outside by the lieutenant. Will finish later. 

Jeannette chuckled delightedly. Through the persons 
of Jim and Nellie and the little girls she conveyed to him 
the doings of England and France and the Allies. She 
could imagine some benevolent old German papa at the 
prison censor's desk following the monthly doings of this 
entertaining American family. She turned to the next 
page of the letter and was suddenly stabbed by daggers 
of exclamation. 

Godmother! Godmother! I'm coming home! I'm coming 
home! I have just seen the lieutenant. They are going to 
release me. With my left arm useless, of course I can't fight 
again, and here I'm just one more to feed, if you call, (deleted 
by censor). It seems as if I couldn't wait. America! Oh, if 
you knew how I long to get back! 

Anatole knows the truth and is howling. It will be a week 
before the train of disabled leaves. I wonder what it will be 
like over there. But first of all my home-coming is going to 
be a pilgrimage to a shrine, to the shrine of a saint with 
whitening hair and rheumatism and the heart of a girl. 
Promise me again you will keep well. To think of you tramp- 
ing out every day and slaving in an office while I sit here 
helpless. Don't go out in the snow without your rubbers! 
I know New York at this time of year. 

She had to peer hard to decipher the last crowded 
words : 

Please, will you send Anatole insect powder and carbolic 
soap? Will write again when know departure definitely. 
L/Ove. 

Harry Ledyard. 

Jeannette's hands dropped to her lap and, for a little., 
with eyes shining, she sat lost in thoughts and emotions 
not ordinarily associated with godmothers. He was 
homing straight to her ; to age and ugliness and pain, for 
all he knew. She experienced a sensation as if some one 
had twanged a glad harp within her. 



248 WAR STORIES 

But then uprose a dismaying consciousness of her youth 
and her deception and, like a bird suddenly alarmed, she 
poised as if for flight. For while still a prisoner at a safe 
distance one's godson may well be an object of pity, sacri- 
fice and love, released he becomes a predatory and dan- 
gerous male person. 

After supper Jeannette took her letter and her problem 
to Mrs. Tibbitts, who inhabited a large square back 
parlor on the ground floor of the old-fashioned dwelling. 

The landlady, dressed in black silk with white lace at 
collar and wrists, her fingers at work on a gigantic pair 
of socks for Feodor, afforded no relief when Jeannette 
broke the news to her. 

" The idea of his coming home like this when he's sup- 
posed to stay there ! " she cried. " It isn't decent. It 
puts a child like you in such a position ! " (Jeannette 
was twenty-three.) "Your father would never have 
thought of letting you meet him. How do you know 
what he is? And that Foreign Legion is full of black 
sheep." 

Mr. Armstrong was no more encouraging when she 
showed him the letter. 

*' Oh, I don't think he's a criminal," he demurred from 
Mrs. Tibbitts' suggestion ; " but all the same you don't 
know what he is. Fortune hunter is more likely, a fellow 
that thinks you're old and have a little put by that he can 
get hold of by looking after you a few years. Better be 
careful and go slow on this. Miss Gontreau." 

For a week the problem remained in abeyance. Then 
it was forced to decision by a hasty scrawl sent by way of 
Holland and stating that Ledyard was to leave Witten- 
berg two days after writing and would take the first ship 
he could catch from Christiania. It also confided that 
he and Anatole had unearthed one Jules, whom they con- 
sidered a worthy recruit to the Army, and would Jean- 
nette please ship him a supply of insect shrapnel ? It con- 
cluded with fervent gratitude and affection. 

The news of Jules necessitated the repacking of a box 
Jeannette had begun for Anatole, and when Armstrong 
heard of it he made one of his calls, an event chaperoned 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 249 

by Mrs. Tibbitts, during which Grand Headquarters was 
transferred to her luxurious back parlor. 

The fact that Ledyard was on the way reduced the 
session to a council of war. 

" It's certainly not right for the child to see him," was 
Mrs. Tibbitts' final word as she knitted, rocking, while 
the other two knelt by the yawning box in the middle of 
the floor. 

" Oh, Miss Gontreau can take care of herself," op- 
posed Armstrong. " But suppose he's an undesirable 
somebody you wouldn't want to see after the first time, 
but who would try to take advantage of your kindness." 

*• M-mm ! " conceded Jeannette. " I hadn't thought of 
that." 

" Look here : how would this do ? " Armstrong ex- 
claimed. " Ledyard will expect to meet an elderly lady, 
so why not let Mrs. Tibbitts meet him and size him up 
first?" 

" Oh, dear, really," said that lady in agitation. " What 
would I have to do ? " 

Armstrong enlightened her in some detail, while Jean- 
nette, a slim figure in a close-fitting black dress, still sat 
back on her heels pondering, brow wrinkled to a thought- 
ful sternness under its unruly dark hair. Then she 
seemed to come to some decision. There were times 
when the American half of her rose and took charge, and 
this was one of them. 

" Look here,"' she now remarked : " you people seem 
to think this is your godson ! It seems to me if anybody 
can judge him I can, and I'm going to do it. I shall meet 
him, but I'll be the old lady! I'll get a gray wig, and 
practice limping with rheumatism, and Nannie here can 
lend me her glasses. Yes, that's the way to do it, and 
you can both help me. That's how I'm going to meet my 
godson ! " 

After vainly counter-attacking for half an hour, Mrs. 
Tibbitts and Mr. Armstrong sought instructions. 

Ill 
From where she sat facing the door of the back parlor. 



250 WAR STORIES 

Jeannette heard Mrs. Tibbitts admit her godson. It was 
Saturday afternoon, and, in answer to his note sent from 
the hotel the day after landing, she had told him to come 
then. 

" Yes, Miss Gontreau is in," said the landlady. "Come 
this way, please." 

Jeannette swallowed with unexpected suddenness. 
Sitting thus with her back to the light, she looked her 
part. An almost white wig subdued any unseemly tend- 
ency of her dark hair, and her rather shapeless dark 
serge dress successfully concealed any hint of youthful 
curves. As befitting her years, and better to conceal 
her features, she wore a pair of nose-glasses attached by 
a gold chain to a spring reel on her chest. Upon an ad- 
jacent table was grouped the Grand Army. 

There were firm approaching footsteps, and the next 
moment he stood in the doorway, tall, straight and 
slender. Expecting to see the boyish-looking recruit of 
her photograph, Jeannette's heart failed her as she looked 
into that thin, worn face and endured the steady, piercing 
gaze of his hollow eyes. Momentarily she asked herself 
if this were really he; then she began to find possible re- 
semblances of feature and expression. Still, she hadn't 
thought his hair — brushed back from his forehead in the 
familiar way of the photograph — was so blond. 

But when he spoke she forgot her doubts. 

" Godmother ! " he cried gladly, tenderly, and came 
across the rooiij toward her. She noticed that his left 
arm was the one that he could never use. She held out 
her hand, and, as he took it in his, he dropped to one 
knee and kissed it. The action, so un-American, stirred 
something in her, and the blood of her fathers spoke. 

" Godson ! " she said softly. " Defender of France ! " 

It was as if she had knighted him. 

When he rose his eye caught sight of the pictures on 
the table. 

" The Grand Army of Mademoiselle Gontreau ! " he 
said, and saluted. Then, turning to her again : " I won- 
der if you know how truly you are Joan of Arc to us ! ** 

" Oh, la, la ! " she cried in genuine deprecation, though 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 251 

her eyes were moist. "After the war my godsons will 
forget me — which is right." 

" Godmother ! " It was almost a shout of outraged 
manhood. " Forget you ! What ungrateful brutes you 
must think we are! If the others feel as I do we can 
never forget you, and our children and grandchildren 
shan't either, as long as we live." 

His children and grandchildren! But he hadn't said 

he was She peered at him through her glasses, 

absurdly fearful. 

"And you found your family quite well when you got 
back ? " she inquired. 

" Family? " he laughed. " I haven't a soul in the world 
except you. And now I'm going to make it my business 
to look after you if you'll Jet me." 

Jeannette experienced a chill. Just such sentiments as 
these had Mr. Armstrong put into the mouth of his 
fortune hunter. 

" Indeed I won't let you I " she retorted with spirit. 
" I've got along so far without being looked after, so I 
guess I can struggle on a little longer." 

He laughed out. At her request he had seated himself, 
and now he faced her from a deep chair. 

" That's just like some of the remarks in your letters," 
he twinkled. " Sometimes I would have sworn you didn't 
have a gray hair to your head. But what I meant was 

that It distressed me to have you slaving for us " He 

waved toward the pictures. "If you would only let me 
try and make up for it a little — take you to the theater 
or the opera, or out to lunch or dinner, or something." 

For a moment this held out delectable possibilities. 
Then the caution in which she had drilled herself warned 
her. 

" That's charming and thoughtful of you, godson," she 
said ; " but perhaps — later. This time of year my rheu- 
matism, you know." She gave an experimental little 
groan. "The office is about all I can manage. But if 
you'd like to see me, do come here." 

His face fell with disappointment, but he agreed. " Of 
course. You know I will do anything you ask." 



252 WAR STORIES 

Jeannette sighed with relief, and, in order to get the 
conversation on less personal grounds, took from the table 
a couple of letters she had written the night before, one to 
Anatole and the other to Paul, the Belgian in Sennelager. 
Her father had always spoken French with her, and she 
wrote the language with sufficient fluency to carry on this 
correspondence. From his years in Paris and the army, 
Ledyard was thoroughly at home in the tongue, and now 
he plunged with delight into the operations of Grand 
Headquarters. He begged permission to write post- 
scripts to both letters, and offered to mail them when he 
left. 

She had to hold the sheets for him while he wrote, and 
this dependence, after his extravagant desire to look after 
her, touched her. 

Absorbed in the work, the time flew and the early 
winter darkness had descended before he remembered the 
length of his stay. She sealed the outer envelopes, 
stamped them and gave him the letters. He begged that 
he might come again soon, and when she had granted per- 
mission he took his leave. That evening a great bunch 
of Killarney roses came for her bearing his card. 

This, with what Mrs. Tibbitts had been able to over- 
hear from the landing, convinced that lady that he was a 
perfectly worthy godson; but Mr. Armstrong was not 
quite so ready to concede the fact. 

" Considerate and thoughtful, eh ? And little atten- 
tions like roses ? Just what I expected. If I were after 
some nice old lady's wages Td go at it just that way. 
And Fd like to see his face when he finds out what you 
really are." 

Remarkably enough, Jeannette came to find something 
very disturbing about that eventuality after Ledyard had 
called several times in the wake of approximately a hay- 
cock of roses. More than the aged themselves did God- 
mother Gontreau hate her superannuation : more difficult 
each time was the effort to restrain the young, unreasoned 
impulses he seemed to arouse. 

There was irony in the fact that Jeannette now found 
her part irksome. She discovered that it was one thing 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 253 

to assume years and another to get rid of them. Every 
added day made the situation more difficult, and she re- 
fused his invitations with less and less conviction. 

One noon, knowing that the foreign mail was to leave 
in a few days, she did not go out to lunch, but remained 
at her desk writing letters to the Army. She had just 
finished one to Paul when she heard the telephone in 
Armstrong's office ring, and the next minute he came 
out to tell her that Ledyard was on the wire. 

The latter immediately plunged into details of certain 
new regulations of the British authorities regarding boxes 
mailed to prisoners. He said they would have to hurry 
to finish the one they were packing 'for Feodor, and ad- 
vised her to go out that noon and get what articles she 
still needed. He finished by asking if he might come and 
help with the packing that night. 

" Oh, yes," she assured him, " and TU rush out and get 
the things now in my lunch hour." 

She did so, sweeping her letters into a drawer and 
putting her wraps on as she went. 

That afternoon, as she was starting for home laden 
with her purchases, Armstrong stopped her to ask if he 
might call the following evening. As Ledyard had not 
signified a desire to come then, she agreed, as she pre- 
ferred to entertain them separately. The two men had 
met once or twice at Grand Headquarters, but on such 
occasions had exhibited a slight constraint which had ex- 
tracted from the evenings what little joy still remained in 
them for Jeannette. 

When Ledyard came they spent a merry evening. The 
packing of the box was the chief occupation and it pro- 
ceeded slowly, not alone from the afflictions of the 
packers, but because of the numberless digressions that 
seemed to crop up on the slightest provocation. But the 
work could not be finished. A consignment of luxuries 
Ledyard had ordered had failed to arrive, and they had 
to wait for it. Ledyard announced that he would come 
the next night to complete the job, and Jeannette, though 
she knew that Armstrong was coming then, could not 
bring herself to refuse him. 



254 WAR STORIES 

As Lcdyard was leaving he noticed on the table Jean- 
nette's letter to Paul, which she had brought home with 
her. 

" Have you inclosed the little Belgian flag you always 
send him ? " he asked. It was her custom to include in 
each letter to a member of her Army the flag of his 
nation — Ledyard treasured a dozen miniature Stars and 
Stripes. 

" No, I didn't have time to get one," she complained, 
laughing. " You hurried me so to-day." 

" Let me take the letter, ajad Til buy one and put it in 
and mail it," he offered, and she accepted gladly, 

IV 

The next night Armstrong was the first to arrive, but 
Ledyard followed him closely, and Jeannette lost little 
time in directing attention to the business in hand. Mrs. 
Tibbitts brought the delayed articles, which had arrived 
that day, and the two men knelt on opposite sides of the 
box and commenced to pack it. Matters had just got 
well under way when the house bell rang sharply, and, as 
the servant was out, Mrs. Tibbitts went to the door. A 
moment later those in the room heard a man's voice ask 
for Miss Gontreau. Caught in her disguise, and not 
knowing what to expect, Jeannette sat helpless. Ledyard 
and Armstrong after a moment's hesitation rose. 

Footsteps approached, and Mrs. Tibbitts entered the 
room followed by two men. One was stocky and red- 
faced and had a mustache, and the other was tall and 
clean-shaven. Inside the threshold they halted. 

" Miss Jeannette Gontreau? " asked the stocky man. 

" Yes." 

" Well, I'm sorry, miss, but you'll have to come with 
us." He threw back his coat and displayed on its under 
side the metal badge of the Federal Secret Service. "You 
are charged with sending naval secrets of the United 
States to Germany through your letters to prisoners." 

The room became absolutely still. Jeannette slowly 
grew white, unable to speak. It was Armstrong who 
first recovered himself. 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 255 



" What ! Why Look here, this is nonsense ! " 

he cried angrily. " I am Miss Grontreau's employer, and 
I know all about her work with prisoners. She'd no 
more think of sending information to Germany than you 
would. This is an outrage ! " 

The detective made no reply, but drew from his inside 
pocket a letter which Jeannette instantly recognized as 
the one she had written to Paul the day before. 

" Did you write this letter ? " 

" Yes, but there's nothing in it that " 

" What about this ? " He turned over the first sheet 
and revealed on its back some writing in a faint violet 
ink, unmistakably in Jeannette's hand. " That came out 
under acid test," he stated, fixing her with a piercing 
gaze. 

Dumbly she read certain information regarding the 
naval forces of the United States. "That! I never 
saw it before, I didn't write it, I don't know anything 
about it ! " she cried desperately as a conception of all 
that this charge implied rushed over her. 

" See here," broke in Ledyard angrily, " you men are 
on the wrong track entirely. This sweet old lady is no 
more guilty of this than you are. She's an angel! 
She's " 

Thompson, the agent, disregarded him. 

" You say you didn't write it," he said suavely to 
Jeannette. " Well, did any one have access to this letter 
after it left your hands ? " 

Jeannette opened her mouth to speak, remembering how 
she had given the letter to Ledyard the night before. 
Then, knowing his innocence, she did a godmotherly 
thing. 

" No," she said, and her eyes involuntarily sought 
Ledyard's. But a sudden shock ran through her to find 
in them a strange, fierce gaze she could not interpret. 
For a long moment they plumbed each other's souls. 

"All right," said Thompson with finality, picking up his 
hat ; " then I'll have to ask you to come along with us, 
miss." 

Ledyard stood with bent head, his pale face reflecting 



256 WAR STORIES 

some tremendous mental eflFort or struggle. Then, as 
Thompson advanced toward Jeannette, Ledyard suddenly 
straightened and stepped to meet him. 

" Wait a minute," he said. " I've got something to say. 
I wrote that message. I had access to that letter last 
night because I mailed it for Miss Gontreau. She's for- 
gotten that, and it's idiotic to let you accuse her any 
longer." Then he looked back to Jeannette, and went 
on, almost painfully : "And that isn't all. I have another 
confession to make, godmother : I am not Harry Ledyard 
of the Foreign Legion. You will find Harry Ledyard 
still in Wittenberg prison. I am Lieutenant Peter Klein- 
hans of the Prussian Guard, disabled. I used Ledyard's 
passports to get into this cotmtry." His heels clicked and 
he bowed. 

To Jeannette his words were the words of a nightmare. 

" Search him, Joe," said Thompson. 

It seemed as if the world were collapsing under her 
feet. Half- forgotten memories took on a strange signifi- 
cance. She recalled the day of his arrival, and remem- 
bered his almost complete unlikeness to the Ledyard of 
her photograph; the unexpected blondness of his hair, 
his rigid military bearing that had never diminished. All 
these became now bitterly sure proofs of his astoimding 
statement. 

The tall, clean-shaven detective who had been search- 
ing Kleinhans uttered an exclamation as he seized a worn 
envelope bearing both British and German censors' 
stamps, and drew out the letter inside. This again Jean- 
nette recognized as one of hers, apparently written sev- 
eral months before. Thompson looked it through quickly. 

" Part of this is gone," he said. " Where's the rest 
of it?" 

Kleinhans shrugged. 

" I don't know. I only used that as a model for Miss 
Gontreau's handwriting." 

Jeannette heard him as in a dream. The man she had 
known as Ledyard a German, an enemy of France, a 
betrayer of America ! A spy who had not only used her 
whom he believed to be an old woman, but, more cruel 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 257 

still, had played with the liberty of the true Ledyard, her 
helpless godson ! 

To think that this w^s the same man who had revealed 
such boyish charm, such solicitude, almost veneration, 
toward her. Memories that had stolen into her heart 
and won it wholly rushed over her, and she knew at last 
that she loved him. It had taken this desperate moment 
to crystallize the realization, but there was no longer any 
doubt. 

And they were taking him to prison, perhaps to death ! 

Her surroundings swam before her eyes, and an im- 
pulse to sacrifice herself for him, to take upon herself 
his guilt, swept over her. After all it was her hand- 
writing in the letter. . . . 

But only for a moment. He was a German soldier ! 

Memory, tradition, blood and race reasserted them- 
selves. Her head lifted slowly, and she bade him fare- 
well with her eyes. . . . 

They were making ready to go. The air of tense ex- 
citement had relaxed. Mrs. Tibbitts stirred in the chair 
where she had sat like a statue, while Armstrong moved 
about the room, his genial smile gradually reasserting 
itself. 

Suddenly Kleinhans turned toward him. 

"Achtung! " ("Attention! ") he snarled in the snarl of 
a Prussian officer on the parade ground. 

Caught off his guard, Armstrong turned, straightened, 
and his hand half rose to the salute. Then, realizing, he 
tried to dissemble the action. But his face was blanched. 

" There's your man," said Ledyard quietly. And then, 
as Armstrong leaped for the door : " Quick ! Get him ! " 

A rush, a sharp, desperate struggle, and Armstrong was 
a prisoner. 



V 

Acting on Ledyard*s instructions, Jeannette took from 
the table his black leather wallet which had been thrown 
there with his other belongings, and ripped out the stitch- 
ing along one side with Mrs. Tibbitts' scissors. He then 



258 WAR STORIES 

drew carefully from the open flap a piece of paper which 
had been browned as by heat. 

" Here's the missing sheet of that letter you found in 
my pocket," he told Thompson. " One side of it, as you 
see, is part of the letter, and the other is writing in Miss 
Gontreau's hand, such as you found in the letter I mailed 
last night. I received this in Wittenberg prison last 
November." 

Thompson looked at him. 

" Then you are Ledyard ? " 
• " Yes. My having this letter proves it, and I can prove 
it in half a dozen other ways to-morrow morning. 

" Now the day I got this letter in Wittenberg," he went 
on, " I was reading it when I dropped this sheet almost 
in the. flame of the alcohol stove Miss Gontreau had sent 
me. I rescued it in time, but this writing had come out. 
For a moment I suspected Miss Gontreau, but only for 
a moment. I was convinced that some one was working 
through her. 

" I got the sheet out of Germany with me — never mind 
how — and IVe been working on the case ever since I 
arrived in New York. I finally eliminated everybody but 
Armstrong here, but I didn't have the actual proof to 
convict him. You fellows came in here to-night before 
I was ready, and nearly ruined everything. 

"Armstrong's name is not Armstrong at all, but Franz 
Nagel. He is a Prussian sergeant who has lived for 
years in English-speaking countries, and was in Canada 
when the war broke out. He came here, got a job with 
the National Advertising Company, and has been send- 
ing information to Germany in one way or another ever 
since. Isn't this true, Nagel?" he demanded of the 
prisoner. 

It has been curiously noted in all such cases that 
the guilty suspect has frankly admitted his guilt, a 
phenomenon due, it is said, to a desire to shield those 
" higher up." Armstrong was no exception. 

" Yes," he said without hesitation. 

" When did you tamper with that letter I mailed to 
Paul last night?" 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 259 



" Yesterday noon, after you had called Miss Gontreau 
on the telephone and she had left the office." 

As Jeannette Gontreau listened, much that had been 
obscure in the past became plain. Her more than gener- 
ous salary, Armstrong's interest in her Army, particularly 
since her father's death, when his help had been most 
needed; his desire to remain concealed as a benefactor, 
but to share in their letters and hers; his pretended in- 
terest in herself — all these things arranged themselves 
simply for what they were. 

Thinking back, Jeannette could remember half a dozen 
occasions when, through his specious kindness, he had got 
possession of her innocent letters. 

Worse than all was the realization of the dastardly in- 
difference with which he had jeopardized her, had mis- 
used her trust in him and the sharing of her dearest 
secrets. 

She burned with hurt and shame, and the tears rolled 
down her cheeks. She forgot for the time being that the 
whole world had been similarly duped and played upon 
for years, and that only through such humiliation as hers 
could the way be opened to tear out the evil by the 
roots. 

" But why on earth did you say you were a Prussian 
officer ? " Thompson was demanding of Ledyard. 

" For this reason," he replied : " I was morally certain 
of Armstrong's guilt, but, as I say, I had no sure proof. 
I had to make him reveal himself somehow, for you fel- 
lows were going to take Miss Gontreau off and he would 
have got clean away. He thought I was his superior 
officer, and when I called him to attention the old military 
instinct of obedience was too strong for him. It was a 
long shot, but it worked." 



After Ledyard, promising to return shortly, had left 
the house with the other three men, Jeannette sat a 
moment in thought. Then suddenly she seemed to reach 
some decision. She got up and crossed to where Mrs. 
Tibbitts still sat mute. 



26o WAR STORIES 

" Nannie," she said in a certain, seldom employed tone, 
" I want to talk to Mr. Ledyard alone for a few minutes 
when he returns." 

The landlady recognized both the tone and the futility 
of argument, and obediently got up. But there was a 
little of the old fire left. 

" I'll give you five minutes," she said, thin, high- 
bridged nose well in the air. " Remember the time of 
night." 



When Ledyard returned to Grand Headquarters he 
saw waiting for him under the gas-light a young woman 
with a wealth of dark hair, a sweet pale face and very 
anxious dark eyes. He stopped short and passed his 
hand across his eyes as if to clear them. But the vision 
did not change. He stared long, trying to compre- 
hend. 

" Godmother ! " he said uncertainly. 

" Yes, godson," she said, a sweet light in her face. " I 
am the godmother that was old and rheumatic. Didn't 
you guess ? " 

" B-but — ^but — I don't understand ! " he cried, be- 
wildered, walking toward her and worshiping her face. 
" I knew you were young in spirit. I loved that even in 
your letters. But to find you a girl ! Why ? Why did 
you do it?" 

" Would my godsons have trusted and confided in 
me if they had thought I was like this?" she asked 
simply. 

" But when I came," he said almost fiercely, compelling 
her eyes to meet his, " why did you deceive me ? " And 
then, before she could answer : " Forgive me ; I am be- 
ginning to understand." There was a silent pause while 
he thought. 

" You were right," he said. ..." But I have tried 
to be worthy. ... Do you remember when I of- 
fered to devote my life to looking after you and you 
wouldn't let me? Well, that offer still holds good, but 
I won't take no this time. Jeannette, look at me! 



99 



GODSON OF JEANNETTE GONTREAU 261 

There was the snap of a watch-case at the head of the 
stairs and slow steps descending. 

" You'll have to be quick," he said ; " here comes your 
Nannie." 

She was quick. 



* A Son of Belgium 

By Robert W. Sneddon 

In a comer of the Place de la Monnaie, Brussels, is a 
comfortable tavern, which, before the war, was fre- 
quented by the officials of the general post-office occupy- 
ing one side of the square. There, at the midday hour, 
they could be seen enjoying their brune, faro, or Iambic 
beer and puffing with great content at their ten-centime 
cigars. Scotch ales and German brews were on sale 
there, too, to attract the tourists who came to get mail at 
the poste restante, and on a warm summer day all kinds 
of accents could be heard. Madame, the proprietress, 
herself, had a word for each of her customers in his own 
tongue. English, French, German — she knew them all. 

She was a comely woman of forty, Madame Lahaye, of 
medium height, just escaping the charge of leanness, with 
a slight down upon her upper lip, who wore her black 
dress with quite an air. She was not the innkeeper of 
lusty life who would have gained immortality from the 
brush of Teniers, Hals, or Van Ostade ; if anything, she 
was rather reserved in manner, keeping her place and that 
of her clientele. A widow, they said, with one child, a 
boy of thirteen, still in the stage of short socks upon long 
legs, a bag of school-books on his shoulder. Yet, in 
spite of madame's dignified manner, as she sat behind her 
latticework cash desk in winter and at a table just outside 
the door in summer, her hands always busy with some 
piece of sewing, there was a something about her that 
caused a too forward postal clerk to say one day : 

" For all her demure looks, I'll wager madame has 

* By permission of AinsUe*s and Robert W. Sneddon. Copyright 

19 1 8, by Ainslee Magazine Co. 

262 



A SON OF BELGIUM 263 

known something else. A woman with eyes like that is 



no nun." 



The old head waiter, Andre, overheard him, and for a 
week on end served the careless fellow warm beer until 
a recantation was made in person to madame, who looked 
at the offender straightly with her black eyes and then 
said very gently: 

" That was not nice of you, my friend." 

Still, in spite of the fact that no breath of suspicion 
was ever attached to madame's good name, there were 
certain indications of coquetry — the heavy gold earrings 
of Flemish workmanship that emphasized the smallness 
and the pinkness of her ears, the quality of the silk 
stockings and shoes that brought into prominence the 
fact that her feet and ankles were adorably shaped, even 
if not tiny, and her carefully kept and polished finger 
nails. 

The service of the tavern was conducted successfully 
by Andre, a dried-up old fellow, with heavy feet ; Mark, 
a younger edition, with plastered hair and a grin ; and a 
stout Flemish girl, who did the washing, cleaning, and 
other odd jobs. 

When the Germans occupied Brussels, horse, foot, and 
artillery, generals, colonels, captains, and lieutenants, 
regiments of officials who had had their appointments 
docketed in secret pigeonholes for years until " the Day," 
things were very little changed for madame. Mark, to 
be sure, had gone to join his colors some time before ; the 
Flemish girl had been sent away into safety; and only 
Andre was left to raise and lower the awnings, to polish 
the tables and the silvered napkin holders, to water the 
shrubs and serve the customers, in addition to fulfilling 
his duties as watch-dog to madame. The clientele, too, 
was now made up of the uniformed officials who had 
taken possession of the post-office, and officers lodged 
in the Hotel de la Poste and other neighboring cara- 
vanseries. 

But madame went about her business as usual. She 
had now become a wheel in the machinery of German 
efficiency. Beer was needed for its harmonious work- 



264 WAR STORIES 

ing, and so the word went forth among the comfort- 
loving officials of the posts and telegraphs that official 
favor, clemency, and protection were extended to the 
tavern, and the cobbled square set with tables in front 
thereof, and the occupants in service therein, provided 
the beer was cool, the service civil, and the prompt pay- 
ment of scores not too stringently enforced. 

As usual, madame sat at her table with her sewing and 
her darning. What she thought of what was happening 
elsewhere, no one could tell from her placid face. She 
responded to the salutation of the masters with a quiet 
smile that gave no clew. 

It was only when the lights were put out in the tavern, 
when, in the few moments before going to bed, the little 
company of three gathered about the table, with its white- 
and-red-checkered cloth, which stood in the middle of the 
private sitting-room, that she relaxed her self-control and 
let the haunting terror creep from its hiding place in her 
brain into her eyes. Then could be seen three white 
faces in the candle-light — the old man's, wrinkled and 
brown-spotted, working nervously; the boy's with a 
sternness strange for one so young, a subdued fire in the 
eyes he had inherited from his mother; and madame's, 
which the guttering single candle invested with dark 
shadows beneath the still darker eyes. It was as if they 
waited each night for the tramp of heavily booted feet, 
the harsh, imperative summons to open, and the crushing 
blow of the mailed fist, still bloody with the massacre of 
old men, women, and children. 

There was little conversation, and that little limited by 
tacit consent to the affairs of the tavern, and then 
madame, with a sigh, would rise to her feet, embrace 
Frans with a kiss that lingered on lips each day be- 
coming firmer, place her hand on the shoulder of the 
old waiter in a caress that spoke of her affection for 
him, and, standing a moment at her bedroom door as if 
to take a last look about the silent room, would close the 
door softly upon the old man and the boy. 

And so two years went by. 

One night the two who were left in the sitting-room sat 



A SON OF BELGIUM 265 

silent until at last the old man tiptoed to the door, listened, 
and returned. 

" Madame your mother is sleeping, my boy. It is time 
we go to bed." 

**Ah, no, Andre ! Last night you promised to tell me 
about the old guildsman." 

" Eh ! Frans Anneessens. Was it that ? " 

" Yes." 

Andre leaned forward with a sly look at the doors and 
lowered his voice to a faint whisper : 

" Well, it was during the time that Brabant was held 
by the cursed Austrians under the Governor de Prie, a 
terrible rascal and a cruel. He was all for screwing 
money out of the good craftsmen of our city — just as to- 
day — and when they rebelled, why, he took five of those 
who had resisted him and his unjust taxes. Among them 
was a fine old man, Frans Anneessens, a turner of chairs, 
whom every one loved and esteemed." 

"And what did they do to him, Andre ? " 

" They cut off his head in the market-place, yes — ^near 
two hundred years ago. He gave his life for liberty. 
Ah, why am I not younger and strong?" added the old 
man in a fierce whisper. " We showed the Germans once 
before what we of Brussels could do to them — and now 
they are here again and we are slaves! Hush! Here 
comes the night patrol. To bed, my boy ! " 

And the old man blew out the candle, leaving them to 
grope their way to bed. 

Frans clenched his fists as he lay in his room, repeat- 
ing to himself over and over, as he listened to the tramp 
of the night patrol : 

" I thank the good God I am Belgian, Belgian, of the 
•race of Frans Anneessens, of the race of Albert, our 
king ! " 

One day madame, returning from Notre Dame du 
Sablon, where "she had said her prayers under the watch- 
ing eye of a German sentry, stopped suddenly and shrank 
within the shelter of a doorway as an automobile went 
down the steep street at a reckless pace. She had only 
caught a glimpse of the officer who rode in it, stiff- 



266 WAR STORIES 

backed, grim-visaged, but that glance had been enough 
to set her heart trembling, so that it was some time before 
she could proceed. And when she did, the feeling of 
deadly nausea which came over her made her stop again 
and again to lean against the walls for support. 

It was as if she had discovered a deadly snake curled 
up in the bed of her son. 

Yet when she reached the tavern, she had regained her 
composure. She answered the salutations of the clientele 
with her usual pleasant smile, and then went into her bed- 
room. Before the crucifix she knelt with anguished eyes, 
imploring pardon for her weaknesses and strength and 
divine protection in whatever trials might come to pass. 

It was the last time she went beyond the tavern and its 
terrace for many a long day, and she never came out into 
the warm sunshine without examination of the drinkers 
at the tables. To add to her cares, she was disturbed by 
the behavior of Frans, never a talker, who seemed more 
taciturn than ever, yet always on the point of breaking 
out into angry speech. She caught him eyeing the 
chattering German officers with sullen contempt. When 
she spoke to him gently, he turned on her fiercely : 

"And why not, mamanf I am Belgian — and these 
hogs — German ! " 

She started back as if he had struck her in the face, 
and, frightened by her shrinking silence, Frans ran to 
her and, putting his arms about her, asked anxiously what 
was the matter. 

She drew herself up with an effort that left her pale. 

" Nothing, my son, nothing. Only you must not speak 
that way. Some one may hear you." 

" Let them ! I am not afraid ! " 

" Oh, but for my sake, Frans, for my sake ! You 
must be here to protect me ! " 

"And I shall, ch^re maman" he assured her, with set 
chin and eyes ablaze with a somber passion. 

" You will not go away from the tavern ? " she pleaded 
with him. " Promise me ! It is so dangerous ! " 

He shook his head and looked away, and she had to be 
content with that assurance. 



A SON OF BELGIUM 267 

One day an urgent message to go and see a sick friend 
came to her in the morning. She hesitated, then ordered 
Andre to take good charge of the tavern and Frans ; and, 
the old man having given her his word, she went off. 

When she came hurrying back shortly after noon, the 
tables outside were bare of customers. At one of them 
sat Andre, his head upon his arms. She spoke to him 
sharply, and he raised his head, his blinking old eyes full 
of tears. 

"It was not my fault, madame, I swear it!" he said 
hoarsely. " I did' my best." 

She looked at him, terrified. His clothing was torn 
and dust-covered. 

" What has happened ? Where is Frans ? Quick ! 
Tell me ! " 

The old waiter staggered to his feet and gulped : 

" They took him away, madame. I tried to stop them, 
and they beat me. See ! " 

She saw the discoloration on his bruised face and 
arms. 

" What was it? What happened? Is my boy hurt? 
she cried, looking about her with staring eyes. 

" It was this way, madame. We had quite a crowd 
at noon, and Frans was helping me serve the officers. 
The poor boy was running here and there with the glasses, 
and in his hurry he upset a glass of Iambic over the boots 
of a lieutenant — a young beast with a glass in his eye. 
Frans made his excuses, the poor boy, and bent down to 
wipe off the boots of the officer, and the dog — he kicked 
him in the mouth and laughed and said, ' The best place 
for a German boot.* Let me tell you all, madame. Frans 
drew himself up to his feet again and looked at him. 
Then something gave way within him. What a look he 
gave the Boche before he sprang at him with his naked 
hands ! " 

" But did you do nothing, you?" Madame Lahaye de- 
manded fiercely. " I left you in charge ! " 

"Ah, madame," Andre answered piteously, " I did !* I 
came forward — ^they sent me sprawling, and 



99 \ 

i 



Oh, my poor boy ! And he fought well ? " 



268 WAR STORIES 

" Like a lion, madame, but what could he do ? The 
lieutenant was bigger, heavier than he, but Frans gave 
him what he deserved, what he deserved ! " 

" But where is Frans now ? " 

" They were separated, and the lieutenant had him 
arrested." 

" They took him away — where ? " 

" To see the deputy governor, madame, I heard them 
say." 

" But the fault was the officer's ! My Franz did noth- 
ing but protect himself ! " 

"Ah, madame, they have shot hundreds of us down 
for even trying to take ourselves out of harm's way — 
aye, even when we stood by like sheep! Do you not 
know that the proclamation says that .any one resisting 
the authority of an officer or soldier imder arms will be 
shot?" 

"Shot?" 

"Alas, yes, madame, and " 

The old waiter's voice quavered into silence. 

"What shall I do? Oh, what shall I do? Tell me, 
Andre ! You are a man ! " 

"An old, foolish man, mistress. Sit you down. There 
may be some spy watching us." 

He wrinkled his brows ; then gave a low exclamation : 

" Dame, I have it ! Do you know the little stout Ger- 
man who comes here from the post-office — Herr Kro^ 
nen — who has charge of the official mails? He is 
friendly to you, madame. Do you remember the time 
he sent those shameless ones from the rue Persil, who 
came hunting in the tavern, back to their house? Go 
across to the post-office and see him, madame. He may 
advise you." 

" Stay there, then," and madame ran across to the 
post-office. 

A sentry barred her way gruffly, but a passing clerk 
recognized her and took her up-stairs to Herr Kronen's 
department. 

The little stout man looked up sharply; then his eyes 
opened wide. 



A SON OF BELGIUM 269 






"Unexpected pleasure, fraulein. Be seated. What 
can I do for you ? " 

" My son is arrested," said madame curtly, her eyes 
heavy with pain. " Whom shall I see about it? " 

"Arrested ! So ! " 

Herr Kronen's smiling welcome faded from his round 
face, and he stirred uneasily in his cushioned seat. 

"What for?" 

Madame told him. 
I can do nothing," the official said at last coldly, 

nothing. You have read the proclamation. No ! Then 
permit me to recommend your attention to it. It is 
correct." 

Madame rose to her feet and looked down at him. 

" Then you can give me no advice ? " 

He pursed his lips and fidgeted with the writing mate- 
rials in front of him. 

" I can give you no advice officially, no. But," he 
continued hastily, as she turned on her heel, " apply in 
person to the deputy governor, Herr Oberst Boehm." 

" Colonel Boehm ! " 

" Precisely. And above all, do not mention my name. 
It is better so, eh ? " 

"Yes. Thank you." 

She left the room hurriedly. Herr Kronen wiped his 
moist forehead nervously. 

" Those cursed women ! " he muttered to himself. 
" Whew ! I am glad it is she, not I, that is going to see 
the Herr Oberst ! Whew ! " 

Andre sprang to his feet as she came swiftly across the 
square. 

" You have seen him ? What did he sav ? " 

" I am going to see the deputy governor. Wait here." 

" But, madame," the old waiter faltered, " let me go ! 
You are a woman, and those men " 

Madame Lahaye shook her head. Her eyes were 
aflame. 

" I am not afraid, Andre. I shall come back un- 
harmed — this time. Go inside and wait." 

Colonel Boehm had learned, in his forty-nine years of 



270 WAR STORIES 

life, that while it was sometimes costly to grant audience 
to a woman coming on an unknown errand, there was 
also a chance that something might be gained. 

" What sort of a woman ? " he asked the sergeant. 

" Quite a lady, Herr Oberst." 

" I mean looks — good-looking, eh ? " 

" She wore a veil, Herr Oberst." 

"No chance of her carrying a pistol with her?" sug- 
gested the colonel, with a grim smile that showed mis- 
shapen teeth. " Well, if need be, I can search her my- 
self. Stay within call. She may have some information 
for us, though God knows we get little of that from any 
of those tight-mouthed Belgians ! " 

Madame Lahaye was ushered into the anteroom occu- 
pied by the colonel and advanced a few steps forward to 
the desk lit by a single electric reading lamp on a swivel 
stem. Behind it she could see the impressive figure of 
the deputy governor in his field uniform. She stood 
trying to recover her composure. 

"Well, you wish. to see me, madame? What is your 
business ? " 

She trembled from head to foot at the sound of his 
voice. It seemed as if there was no communicating 
channel between her brain and her lips. 

" Sit down. What is it ? I have no time to waste." 

She sat down in the chair in front of the desk. 

" My son — my son " 

An endless repetition of the two words rang through 
her brain, and again the impassable barrier of emotion 
rose in front of her effort to speak. 

" Yes, yes. Your son — what of him ? " 

With a sudden jerk of his hand, he turned the hooded 
'light so that its glare, like a search-light in miniature, illu- 
mined her quivering features. Suddenly he started, 
leaned forward, and then slowly drew himself back 
against his chair. 

"An unexpected pleasure to meet an old friend," he 
said in a harsh and constrained tone. " What can I do 
for you. Mademoiselle Couzens? Or you say you have 
a son? You are married? " 



A SON OF "BELGIUM 271 

" Yes." 

"And your husband? " 

" Dead. Six years ago." 

"Ah, you married after you left Koln, eh? " 

" Yes. I— I married." 

" I am happy to hear that. I fear you were not par- 
ticularly happy as governess in my father's house." 

Madame Lahaye bent her head. 

" No," she faltered at last. 

" Well, that was quite some time ago. You have had 
time to forget your " — he hesitated for the word — " per- 
plexities, eh? Anyway, you can't blame me for having 
tried to make your life a little bit more bearable." 

Colonel Boehm stroked his mustache with a sly 
smile. 

Madame Lahaye's hands twitched in nervous clasping 
and unclasping. She scarcely seemed to hear what he 
was saying. 

" Well, that's an old story. You're looking well, and — 
might I say so? — prosperous. You marriecj well? A 
Brussels man, eh ? " 

" Yes." 

He stared at her with narrowed eyes. The mono- 
syllables, dragged, as it were, by torture from her, set his 
mind to wondering. What did the woman want ? 

" You're in need of money, perhaps? " 

" No ! " 

"Then what? What do you want with me? I am 
busy." 

Something in the imperative nature of his tone loosened 
the bonds of her speech. 

" I want my son, my son Frans." 

" What in God's name have I to do with your son ? " 
he asked abruptly. 

" He was arrested to-day — this noon. He's only six- 
teen. He knew no better." 

"At sixteen, one is a man to-day," the colonel reminded 
her sharply. "What has he done? Where is he? Do 
I know anything of him?" 

" I do not know. He was taken away." 



272 WAR STORIES 



" What for? See here, if I can help you, I will." 

" Oh, thank you ! I thought perhaps you might. You 
see, he did not realize what he was doing, and, besides, 
it was the lieutenant's fault — his fault entirely. Frans 
was serving beer on the terrace " 

"Ah, you have a tavern, eh? Not a bad business." 

"And when he was passing the lieutenant, he acci- 
dentally upset some beer on his boots. He bent down 
to wipe them, and the lieutenant kicked him in the 
mouth." 

"Ah ! " The colonel's hand came down heavily on the 
desk. "If that is so, it will be seen to. There are 
positive orders issued not to provoke conflict with the 
citizens of Brussels. In Louvain — well, that is different. 
Here we are thirty thousand garrison to five hundred 
thousand inhabitants. Set your mind at rest, madame. 
I will attend to it. I will see that reparation is made." 

Madame Lahaye's eyes for the first time lost their 
intent stare and softened. 

" You will see that he is set free 2. " 

" Surely. What is the name ? " 

" Frans Lahaye." 

The colonel started in his chair. 

" So ! " he said sharply. " So ! You did not say so 
before." 

" No. My husband's name was Lahaye." 

" Um. A Belgian name, surely. Well, that makes it 
a little difficult, I'm afraid," he said slowly, moving the 
papers in front of him and collecting them into a neat 
pile. 

" His name ? " madame asked eagerly. 

For a moment she seemed about to continue ; then she 
closed her lips tightly and clenched her hands. 

" No, his case. I did not connect the name with you 
at first. A very serious case. There is no more heinous 
offense than the resistance of a civilian to the superior 
orders of a component part of our military system. In 
striking an officer, he strikes my emperor." 

" But he is a boy ! He is only a boy ! Won't you do 
your best for him ? " 



A SON OF BELGIUM 273 

" I can do nothing, personally, now," the colonel replied 
coldly. 

" But you are all powerful ! You are the deputy gov- 
ernor ! " 

" That IS so. The governor is not here just now, but 
I am answerable to him, and through him to my emperor. 
And, besides " — he hesitated and, bending over the desk, 
toyed with the pen he took up — " there were other of- 
fenses." 

"What?" 

" When he was brought before me, he embarked on a 
long speech. I compliment you, madame, on the ora- 
torical powers of your son, but they were ill-judged. He 
had the bad taste to assail not only my own personal . 
virtues, but also that of one much higher, as compared 
with a certain Frans Somebody who seems to have lost 
his head in more ways that one some centuries ago — an- 
other stubborn and insubordinate citizen of Brussels. 
When will they learn sense, I wonder. You know what 
that means, madame ? " 

Something in the cruel suavity of his tone, succeeding 
to the curt harshness that had greeted her on her entry, 
sent a deathlike chill through her. 

" I am terribly sorry, dear lady. Well, we must see 
what can be done." 

" Thank you, thank you ! Then you will free him ? " 

There was a knock at the door, and the sergeant who 
had shown her in entered with a paper which he laid on 
the colonel's desk, and departed again with a curious 
glance at the woman who sat in the chair, bent forward, 
her hands clasped in entreaty. 

" Yes. I will try." 

He idly set the paper straight in front of him. 

All at once she gave a cry. Her eyes had caught the 
name of " Frans " in heavy black writing on the docu- 
ment. 

" What is that — that " she asked with a hoarse sob. 

" Tut tut ! Nothing ! Go now ! " 

The Colonel could not meet her eyes. He drew out his 
watch and uttered a deep ^'Gottl 



ff 



274 WAR STORIES 

" What is it ? " Madame Lahaye cried anxiously. She 
could not keep her eyes from the document. 

" Ten minutes to four — German time." 

" What do you mean? " she asked wildly, rising to her 
feet and coming forward. " What has German time to 
do with my son? Where is he? What have you done 
with him ? " 

The colonel turned away. He had a twinge of com- 
punction. 

"I forgot we changed the time — ^I am always for- 
getting that," he muttered. " Sorry to tell you. Frans 
Lahaye was shot at a quarter to four." 

Madame Lahaye stumbled. Her hand fell on the edge 
of the desk and gripped it tightly. 

" Shot ! Shot ! " she repeated in a high voice. 

" Yes. I am sorry. It was my duty. I could do 
nothing else. I wished to " 

The mumbled excuses died on his lips as she leaned 
across the desk, the warrant of execution between them, 
her face rigid in a mask of scorn and hate, and moaned : 

" Monster ! You killed your own son ! " 

For a moment the two faces almost touched. 

" Yes, your own son ! Six months after I was dis- 
charged from your father's house, Frans was bom. I 
scorned to tell him of my folly, of the moment of passion 
that made me give myself to you and your lies, of the 
blood that was in his veins. My husband, who loved 
me, knew it all. He adopted Frans as his son. Frans 
never knew, and he died Belgian — do you hear me? — 
Belgian ! " 

The deputy governor of Brussels put up his hand as 
if to shut out the sight of her face and of the face he 
seemed to see behind her shoulder — the pallid face of a 
boy whose large dark eyes burned with a scorn, a con- 
tempt, a hate that seared into his benumbed brain. Fall- 
ing back into his chair, crumpled, bent, aged inex- 
pressibly, he muttered : 

"Go! Go!" 

Turning upon him, Madame Lahaye drew herself up 
proudly and without a word walked to the door of that 



A SON OF BELGIUM 275 

room in which sat one who had killed his own son. At 
the door, she paused. 

" You will send me the body of my son," she said 
quietly, and, without waiting for reply, she closed the 
door upon the deputy governor. 



* Captain Schlotterwerz 

By Booth Tarkington 

Miss Bertha Hitzel, of Cincinnati, reached the age 
of twenty-two upon 'the eleventh of May, 1915; and it 
was upon the afternoon of her birthday that for the first 
time in her life she saw her father pace the floor. Never 
before had she seen any agitation of his expressed so 
vividly ; on the contrary, until the preceding year she had 
seldom known him to express emotion at all, and in her 
youthfulness she had sometimes doubted his capacity for 
much feeling. She could recall no hour of family stress 
that had caused him to weep, to become gesticulative or 
to lift his voice unusually. Even at the time of her 
mother's death he had been quiet to the degree of ap- 
parent lethargy. 

Characteristically a silent man, he was almost notorious 
for his silence. Everybody in Cincinnati knew old Fred 
Hitzel ; at least there was a time when all the older busi- 
ness men either knew him or knew who he was. " Sleepy 
old Dutchman," they said of him tolerantly, meaning that 
he was a sleepy old German. " Funny old cuss," they 
said. " Never says anything he doesn't just plain haf 
to — ^but he saws wood, just the same ! Put away a good 
many dollars before he quit the wholesale-grocery busi- 
ness — must be worth seven or eight hundred thousand, 
maybe a million. Always minded his own business, and 
square as a dollar. You'd think he was stingy, he's so 
close with his talk; but he isn't. Any good charity can 
get all it wants out of old Fred, and he's always right 
there with a subscription for any public movement. A 
mighty good-hearted old Dutchman he is ; and a mighty 

* By permission of Tlie Saturday Evening Post and Booth Tarkington. 
Copyright, 19 18, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 

276 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 277 

good citizen too. Wish we had a lot more just like 
him ! " 

His daughter was his only child and they had a queer 
companionship. He had no children by his first wife; 
Bertha was by his second, whom he married when he was 
fifty-one; and the second Mrs. Hitzel died during the 
daughter's fourteenth year, just as Bertha was beginning 
to develop into that kind of blond charmfulness which 
shows forth both delicate and robust; a high-colored 
damsel whose color could always become instantly still 
higher. Her tendency was to be lively; and her father 
humored her sprightliness as she grew up by keeping out 
of the way so artfully that to her friends who came to the 
house he seemed to be merely a mythical propriety of 
Bertha's. 

But father and daughter were nevertheless closely sym- 
pathetic and devoted, and the daughter found nothing 
indifferent to herself in his habitual seeming to be a 
man half asleep. He would sit all of an evening, his long 
upper eyelids drooping so far that only a diamond chip 
of lamplight reflection beneath them showed that his eyes 
were really open — for him — and he would puff at the 
cigar, protruding between his mandarin's mustache and 
his shovel beard, not more than twice in a quarter of an 
hour, yet never letting the light go out completely ; and all 
the while he would speak not a word, though Bertha 
chattered gayly to him or read the newspaper aloud. 
Sometimes, at long intervals, he might make a faint hiss- 
ing sound for comment or, when the news of the day was 
stirring, as at election times, he might grunt a little, not 
ungenially. Bertha would be pleased then to think that 
her reading had brought him to such a pitch of vocifera- 
tion. 

The change in old Fred Hitzel began to be apparent 
early in August, 1914; and its first symptoms surprised 
his daughter rather pleasantly ; next, she was astonished 
without the pleasure; then she became troubled and in- 
creasingly apprehensive. 

He came home from his German club on the afternoon 
when it was known that the last of the forts at Liege had 



278 WAR STORIES 

fallen and he dragged a chair to an open window, where 
he established himself, perspiring and breathing heavily 
under his fat. But Bertha came and closed the win- 
dow. 

" You'll catch cold, papa," she said. *' Your face is all 
red in spots, and you better cool off with a fan before 
you sit in a draft. Here ! " And she placed a palm-leaf 
fan in his hand. " You oughtn't to have walked home in 
the sun." 

" I didn't walked," said Mr. Hitzel. " It was a trolley. 
You heert some noose ? " 

She nodded. " I bought an extra ; there're plenty extras 
these days ! " 

Her father put the fan down upon his lap and rubbed 
his hands ; he was in great spirits. " Dose big guns ! " he 
said. " By Cheemuny, dose big guns make a hole big 
as a couple houses ! Badoom! Nutting in the worlt can 
stop dose big guns of the Cherman Army. Badoom! She 
goes off. Ef er'ting got to fall down ! By Cheemuny, I 
would like to hear dose big guns once yet ! " 

Bertha gave a little cry of protest and pretended to 
stop her ears. " I wouldn't ! I don't care to be deaf for 
life, thank you! I don't think you really would, either, 
papa." She laughed. " You didn't take an extra glass 
of Rhine wine down at the club, did you, papa ? " 

" One cless," he said. "As utsual. Alwiss one cless. 
Takes me one hour. Chust. Why ? " 

" Because " — she laughed again — " it just seemed to 
me I never saw you so excited." 

"Excidut?" 

" It must be hearing about those big German guns, I 
guess. Look ! You're all flushed up, and don't cool oflF 
at all." 

Old Fred's flush deepened, in fact; and his drooping 
eyelids twisted as with the effort to curtain less of his 
vision. " Litsen, Bairta," he said. " Putty soon, when 
the war gits finished, we should go to New York and hop 
on dat big Vaterland steamship and git off in Antvorp; 
maybe Calais. We rent us a ottomobile and go visit all 
dose battlevielts in Belchun ; we go to Liege — all of er— 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 279 

and we look and see for ourselfs what dose fine big guns 
of the Cherman Army done. I want to see dose big 
holes. I want to see it most in the worlt. Badoom! 
Such a — such a power ! " 

" Well, I declare ! '^ his daughter cried. 

" What iss ? " 

" I declare, I don't think I ever heard you talk so much 
before in my whole life ! " 

Old Fred chuckled. "Badoom!'' he said. "I guess 
dat's some talkin', ain't it ? Dose big guns knows how to 
talk ! Badoom! Hoopee ! " 

And this talkativeness of his, though coming so late in 
his life, proved to be not a mood but a vein. Almost 
every day he talked, and usually a little more than he had 
talked the day before — but not always with so much 
gusto as he had displayed concerning the great guns that 
reduced Liege. One afternoon he was indignant when 
Bertha quoted friends of hers who said that the German 
Army had no rightful business in Belgium. 

" Eng-lish lovers ! " he said. " Look at a map once, 
what tellss you in miles. It ain't no longer across Bel- 
chun from dat French Frontier to Chermany except 
about from here to Dayton. How can Chermany take 
such a chance once, and leaf such a place all open ? Sub- 
bose dey done it: Eng-lish Army and French Army can 
easy walk straight to Aix and Essen, and Chermany could 
git her heart stab, like in two minutes ! Ach-o ! Cher- 
man Army knows too much for such a foolishness. What 
for you want to listen to talkings from Chonny Bulls ? " 

" No ; they weren't English lovers, papa," Bertha said. 
" They were Americans, just as much as I am. It was 
over at the Thompson girls', and there were some other 
people there too. They were all talking the same way, 
and I could hardly stand it; but I didn't know what 
to say." 

" What to say ! " he echoed. " I guess you could called 
'em a pile o' Chonny Bulls, couldn't you once ? Stickin' 
up for Queen Wictoria and turn-up pants legs because 
it's raining in London ! " 

"No," she said, thoughtful and troubled. "I don't 



28o WAR STORIES 

think they care anything particularly about the English, 
papa. At least, they didn't seem to." 

" So? Well, what for they got to go talkin' so big on 
the Eng-lish site, please answer once ! " 

Bertha faltered. " Well, it was — ^most of it was about 
Louvain." 

" Louvain ! I hear you ! " he said. " Listen, Bairta ! 
Who haf you got in Chermany ? " 

She did not understand. " You mean what do I know 
about Germany ? " 

" No ! " he answered emphatically. " You don't know 
nutting about Chermany. You can't speak it, efen; not 
so good as six years olt you could once. I mean : Who 
belongs to you in Chermany? I mean relations. Name 
of 'em is all you know : Ludwig, Gustave, Albrecht, Kurz. 
But your cousins chust de samie — first cousins — my own 
sister Minna's boys. Well, you seen her letters ; you know 
what kind of chilten she's got. Fine boys! Our own 
blut — closest kin we got. Peoble same as the best finest 
young men here in Cincinneti. Well, Albert and Gustave 
and Kurz is ef er' one in the Cherman Army, and Louie is 
offizier, Cherman Navy. My own nephews, ain't it? 
Well, we don't know where each one keeps now, yet ; 
maybe fightin' dose Russishens; maybe marchin' into 
Paris ; maybe some of 'em is at Louvain ! 

" Subbose it was Louvain — subbose Gustave or Kurz 
is one of dose Chermans of Louvain. You subbose one 
of dose boys do somet'ing wrong? No! If he hat to 
shoot and burn, it's because he hat to, ain't it? Well, 
whatefer Chermans was at Louvain, they are the same 
good boys as Minna's boys, ain't it? You hear Chonny 
Bull site of it, I tell you. You bedder wait and git your 
noose from Chermany, Bairta. From Chermany we git 
what is honest. From Chonny Bull all lies ! " 

But Bertha's trouble was not altogether alleviated. 
" People talk just dreadfully," she sighed. " Some- 
times — why, sometimes you'd think, to hear them, it was 
almost a disgrace to be a German ! " 

" Keeb owt from 'em ! " her father returned testily. 
" Quit goin' near 'em. Me ? I make no attention ! " 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 281 

Yet as the days went by he did make some attention. 
The criticisms of Germany that he heard indignantly re- 
peated at his club worried him so much that he talked 
about them at considerable length after he got home ; and 
there were times, as Bertha read the Enquirer to him, 
when he would angrily bid her throw the paper away. 
Finally he stopped his subscription and got his news 
entirely from a paper printed in the German language. 
Nevertheless he could not choose but hear and see a 
great deal that displeased and irritated him. There were 
a few members of his club — citizens of German descent — 
who sometimes expressed uneasiness concerning the right 
of Germany to be in Belgium ; others repeated what was 
said about town and in various editorials about the Ger- 
mans; and Bertha not infrequently was so distressed by 
what she heard among her friends that she appealed to 
him for substantiation of defenses she had. made. 

" Why, papa, you'd think Td said something wrong ! " 
she told him one evening. "And sometimes I almost get 
to thinking that they don't like me any more. Mary 
Thompson said she thought I ought to be in jail, just be- 
cause I said the Kaiser always tried to do whatever he 
thought was right." 

Hitzel nodded. "Anyway, while Chermany is at war 
I guess we stick up for him. Kaisers I don't care; my 
fotter was a shtrong Kaiser hater, and so am I. Nobody 
hates Kaisers worse — until the big war come. I don't 
want no Kaisers nor Junkers — I am putty shtrong ratical, 
Bairta — but the Kaiser, he's right for once yet, anyhow. 
Subbose he didn't make no war when Chermany was 
attackdut; Chermany would been swallowed straight up 
by Cossacks and French. For once he's right, yes. You 
subbose the Cherman peoble let him sit in his house and 
say nutting while Cossacks and French chasseurs go 
killing peoble all ofer Chermany? If Chermany is at- 
tackdut, Kaiser's got to declare war ; Kaiser's got to fight, 
don't he?" 

" Mary Thompson said it was Germany that did the 
attacking, papa. She said the Kaiser " 

But her father interrupted her with a short and sour 



282 WAR STORIES 

laugh. *' Fawty yearss peace," he said. " Fawty yearss 
peace in Europe! Cherman peoble is peaceful peoble 
more as any peoble — but you got to let 'em lif ! Kaiser's 
got no more to do makin' war as anybody else in Cher- 
many. You keep away from dose Mary Thompsons ! " 

But keeping away from the Mary Thompsons availed 
little ; Bertha was not an ostrich, and if she had been one 
closing eyes and ears could not have kept her from the 
consciousness of what distressed her. The growing and 
intensifying disapproval of Germany was like a thicken- 
ing of the very air, and the pressure of it grew heavier 
upon both daughter and father, so that old Hitzel began 
to lose flesh a little and Bertha worried about him. And 
when, upon the afternoon of her birthday — the eleventh 
of May, 191 5 — ^he actually paced the floor, she was 
frightened. 

" But, papa, you mustn't let yourself get so excited ! " 
she begged him. " Let's quit talking about all this killing 
and killing and killing. Oh, I get so tired of thinking 
about fighting! I want to think about this lovely wrist 
watch you gave me for my birthday. Come on ; let's talk 
about that, and don't get so excited ! " 

" Don't git so excidut ! " he mocked her bitterly. " No ! 
Chust sit down and smoke, and trink cless Rhine wine, 
maybe! Who's goin' to stop eckiing some excidut, I 
guess not, efter I litsen by Otto Schultze sit in a clob and 
squeal he's scairt to say how gled he is Lusitania got 
blowed up, because it would be goin' to inchur his biss- 
nuss! He wants whole clob to eckt a hippsicrit; p'tent 
we don't feel no gledness about bio win' up Lusitania! " 

" I'm not glad, papa," Bertha said. " It may be wrong, 
but I can't be. All those poor people in the water '* 

" Chonny Bulls ! " he cried. " Sittin' on a million 
bullets for killin' Cherman solchers ! Chonny Bulls ! " 

" Oh, no ! That's the worst of it ! There were over a 
hundred Americans, papa." 

"Americans ! " he bitterly jibed. "You call dose peoble 
Americans ? Chonny Bulls, I tell you ; Chonny Bulls and 
Eng-lish lovers! Where was it Lusitania is goin' at? 
England! What bissnuss Americans got in Eng-land? 






CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 283 

On a ship filt up to his neck all gunpowder and bullets to 
kill Chermans! Well, it seems to me if it's any Amer- 
ican bissnuss to cuss Chermans because Chermans blow 
up such a murder ship I must be goin' gracy! Look 
here once, Bairta I Your own cousin Louie — ain't he in 
the Cherman Navy? He's a submarine offizier, I don't 
know. Subbose he should be, maybe he's the feller blows 
up Lusitanial You t'ink it should be Louie who does 
somet'ing wrong? He's a mudderer if it's him, yes? I 
guess not ! " 

" Whoever it was, of course he only obeyed orders," 
Bertha said gloomily. 

Well, whoefer gif him dose orders," Hitzel cried, 

ain't he got right? By golly, I belief tjnited States is 
all gracy except peoble descendut from Chermans. Chust 
litsen to 'em! Look at hetlines in noosepapers; look at 
bulletin boarts! A feller can't go nowhere; he can't git 
away from it. ' Damn Chermans ! ' ' Damn Chermans ! ' 
* Damn Chermans ! ' You can't git away from it no- 
where ! ' Chermans is mudderers ! ' * Chermans kills 
leetle bebbies ! ' * Chermans kills womans ! ' * Chermans 
coocify humenity ! ' Nowhere you go you git away from 
all such Eng-lish lies! Peoble chanche faces when they 
heppen to look at you, because maybe you got a Cher- 
man-lookin' face! Bairta, I yoos to love my country, 
but by Gott I feel sometimes we can't stay here no longer ! 
It's too much ! " 

She had begun to weep a little. " Papa, let's do talk 
about something else! Can't we talk about something 
else?" 

He paid no attention, but continued to waddle up and 
down the room at the best pace of which he was capable. 
" It's too much ! " he said, over and over. 

The long "crisis" that followed the Lusitania's anguish 
abated Mr. Hitzel's agitations not at all; and having 
learned how to pace a floor he paced it more than once. 
He paced that floor whenever the newspapers gave evi- 
dence of one of those recurrent outbursts of American 
anger and disgust caused by the Germans' use of poison 
gas and liquid fire or by Zeppelin murders of non-com- 



284 WAR STORIES 

batants. He paced it after the Germans in Belgium killed 
Edith Cavell; and he paced it when the Bryce reports 
were published; and when the accounts of the deporta- 
tions into slavery were confessed by the Germans to be 
true ; and he paced it when the Arabic was torpedoed ; he 
walked more than two hours on the day when the Presi- 
dent's first Sussex note was published. 

" Now," he demanded of Bertha, " you tell me what 
your Mary Thompsons says now? Mary Thompsons 
want Wilson to git in a war, pickin' on Chermany alwiss ? 
You ask 'em: What your Mary Thompsons says the 
United States should make a war because bullet factories 
don't git quick-rich enough, is it ? What she says ? " 

" I don't see her any more," Bertha told him, her 

sensitive color deepening. "For one thing Well, 

I guess you heard about Francis ; that's Mary's brother/' 

Mr. Hitzel frowned. " Francis ? It's the tall feller 
our hired girls says they alwiss hat to be letting in the 
front door? Sendut all so much flowers and tee-a-ters? 
Him?" 

Bertha had grown pink indeed. " Yes," she said. " I 
don't see any of that crowd any more, papa, except just 
to speak to on the street sometimes; and we just barely 
speak, at that. I couldn't go to their houses and listen to 
what they said — or else they'd all stop what they had been 
saying whenever I came round. I couldn't stand it. 
Francis — Mary's brother that we just spoke of — ^he's gone 
to France, driving an ambulance. It kind of seems to me 
now as if probably they never, any of that crowd, did like 
me — not much, anyway ; I guess maybe just because I was 
from Germans." 

" Hah ! " Old Fred uttered a loud and bitter exclama- 
tion. " Yes ; now you see it ! Ain't it so? Whoefer is 
from Chermans now is bat peoble, all dose Mary Thomp- 
sons says. Yoos to be comicks peoble, Chermans. Look 
in all olt comicks pabers — alwiss you see Chermans is 
jeckesses! Dummhets! Cherman fools was the choke 
part in funny shows! Alwiss make fun of Chermans; 
make fun of how Chermans speak Eng-lish lengwitch ; 
make fun of Cherman lengwitch ; make fun of Chermatv 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 285 

face and body; Chermans ain't got no mannerss; ain't 
got no sense ; ain't got nutting but stomachs ! Alwiss the 
Chermans was nutting in this country but to laugh at 
*em! Why should it be, if ain't because they chust 
disspise us? By Gott, they say, Chermans is clowns! 
Clowns; it's what they yoos to call us! Now we are 
mudderers! It's too much, I tell you! It's too much! 
I am goin' to git out of the country. It's too much ! It's 
too much ! It's too much J " 

" I guess you're right," Bertha said with quiet bitter- 
ness. " I never thought about it before the war, but it 
does look now as though they never liked anybody that 
was from Germans. I used to think they did — until the 
war ; and they still do seem to like some people with Ger- 
man names and that take the English side. That crowd 
I went with, they always seemed to think the English and 
French side was the American side. Well, I don't care 
what they think." 

" Look here, Bairta," said old Fred sharply. " You 
litsen! When Mitster Francis Thompsons gits home 
again from French em'ulances, you don't allow him in 
our house, you be careful. He don't git to come here no 
more, you litsen ! " 

" No," she said. " You needn't be afraid about that, 
papa. We got into an argument, and he was through 
coming long before he left, anyway." 

" Well, he won't git no chance to argue at you when 
he gits beck," said her father. " I reckon we ain't in the 
U. S. putty soon. It's too much ! " 

Bertha was not troubled by his talk of departure from 
the country ; she heard it too often to believe in it, and she 
told Evaline, their darky cook — who sometimes over- 
heard things and grew nervous about her place — that 
this threat of Mr. Hitzel's was just letting off steam. 
Bertha was entirely unable to imagine her father out of 
Cincinnati. 

But in March of 191 7 he became so definite in prepara- 
tion as to have two excellent new trunks sent to the 
house ; also he placed before Bertha the results of some 
correspondence which he had been conducting; where- 



286 WAR STORIES 

upon Bertha, excited and distressed, went to consult her 
mother's cousin, Robert Konig, in the " office '• of his 
prosperous " Hardware Products Corporation." 

" Well, Bertha, it's like this way with me," said Mr. 
Konig. " I am for Germany when it's a case of England 
fighting against Germany, and I wish our country would 
keep out of it. But it don't look .like that way now; I 
think we are going sure to fight Germany. And when it 
comes to that I ain't on no German side, you bet! My 
two boys, they'll enlist the first day it's declared, both of 
'em ; and if the United States Gover'ment wants me to go, 
too, I'll say ' Yes ' quick. But your papa, now, it's dif- 
ferent. After never saying anything at all for seventy- 
odd years, he's got started to be a talker, and he's talked 
pretty loud, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wouldn't 
know how to keep his mouth shut any more. He talks 
too much, these days. Of course all his talk don't amount 
to so much hot air, and it wouldn't ever get two cents' 
worth of influence, but people maybe wouldn't think 
about that. It might be ugly times ahead, and he could 
easy get into trouble. After all, I wouldn't worry. 
Bertha; it's nice in the wintertime to take a trip south." 

" * Take a trip south ! ' " Bertha echoed. " Florida, 
yes ! But Mexico — it's horrible ! " 

" Oh, well, not all Mexico, probably," her cousin said 
consolingly. " He wouldn't take you where it's in a bad 
condition. Where does he want to go ? " 

" It's a little place, he says. I never heard of it ; it's 
called Lupos, and he's been writing to a Mr. Helmholz 
that keeps the hotel there and says everything's fine, he's 
got rooms for us ; and we should come down there." 

" Helmholz," Mr. Konig repeated. " Yes ; that should 
be Jake Helmholz that lived here once when he was a 
young man; he went to Mexico. He was Hilda's 
nephew — your papa's first wife's nephew. Bertha." 

" Yes, that's who it is, papa said." 

Mr. Konig became reassuring. " Oh, well, then, you 
see, I expect you'll find everything nice then, down there. 
Bertha. You'll be among relatives — almost the same — 
if your papa's fixed it up to go and stay at a hotel Jake 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 287 

Helmholz runs. I guess I shouldn't make any more ob- 
jections if it's goin' to be like that, Bertha. You won't 
be near any revolutions, and I expect it'll be a good thing 
for your papa. He's too excited. Down there he can 
cuss Wilson as much as he pleases. Let him go and 'get 
it out of his system ; he better cool off a little." 

Bertha happened to remember the form of this final 
bit of advice a month later as she unpacked her trunk in 
Jacob Helmholz's hotel in Lupos; and she laughed rue- 
fully. Lupos, physically, was no place wherein to cool 
off in mid-April. The squat town, seen through the 
square windows of her room, wavered in a white heat. 
Over the top of a long chalky wall she could see a mule's 
ears slowly ambulating in a fog of bluish dust, and she 
made out a great peaked hat accompanying these ears 
through the dust ; but nothing else alive seemed to move 
in the Luposine world except an unseen rooster's throat 
which, as if wound up by the heat, sent at almost sym- 
metrical intervals a long cock-a-doodle into the still fur- 
nace of the air; the hottest sound. Bertha thought, that 
she had ever heard — hotter even than the sound of August 
locusts in Cincinnati trees. 

She found the exertion of unpacking difficult, yet did 
not regret that she had declined the help of a chamber- 
maid. " I'm sure she's an Indian ! " she explained to her 
father. " It scared me just to look at her, and I wouldn't 
be able to stand an Indian waiting on me — never ! " 

He laughed and told her she must get used to the cus- 
toms of the place. " Besites," he said, " it ain't so much 
we might see a couple Injuns around the house, maybe; 
it don't interfere, not so's a person got to notice. What 
makes me notice, it's how Jake Helmholz has got putty 
near a Cherman hotel out here so fur away. It beats 
efer't'ing! Pilsner on ice! From an ice plant like a 
little steamship's got. Cherman mottas down-stairs on 

walls : Wer liebt nicht Wein, Weib und He's got a 

lot of 'em ! He fixes us efening dinner in a putty garden 
he's got. It's maybe hot now, but bineby she coolss off 
fine. Jake, he says we'd be supp'iced ; got to sleep under 
blankets after dark, she cools off so fine ! " 



288 WAR STORIES 

Old Fred was more cheerful than his daughter had 
known him to be for a long, long time; and though her 
timid heart was oppressed by the strange place and by 
strange thoughts concerning it, she felt a moment's glad- 
ness that they had come. 

" Jake Helmholz is a cholly feller," Mr. Hitzel went on, 
chuckling. " He gits along good down here. Says Villa 
ain't nefer come in hundert and finfty miles. He ain't 
afrait of Villa, besites. He seen him once; he shook 
hants nice, he said. Dinnertime, Jake Helmholz he's 
got a fine supp'ice to show us, he says." 

*' You mean something he's having cooked for us for 
dinner as a surprise, papa ? " 

" No ; he gits us a Cherman dinner, he says ; but it ain't 
a supp'ice to eat. He says * You chust wait,' he says to 
me. * You'll git a supp'ice for dinner. It's goin' to be 
the supp'ice of your life,' he says ; * but it ain't nutting to 
eat,' he says. * It's goin' to be a supp'ice for Miss Bairta, 
too,' Jake says. * She'll like it nice, too,' he says." 

But Bertha did not care for surprises; she looked 
anxious. " I wish he wouldn't have a surprise for us," 
she said. " I'm afraid of finding one every minute any- 
how, in the wash-bowl or somewhere. I know I'll go 
crazy the first time I see a tarantula ! " 

" Oh, it ain't goin' to be no bug," her father assured 
her. " Jake says it's too fine a climate for much bugs ; 
he ain't nefer worry none about bugs. He says it's a 
supp'ice we like so much it tickles us putty near dead ! " 

Bertha frowned involuntarily, wishing that her father 
had not used the word dead just then; she felt Mexico 
ominous round her, and even that intermittent cockcrow 
failed to reassure her as a homely and familiar sound. 
Mexico itself was surprising enough for her; even the 
appearance of her semi-relative, the landlord Helmholz, 
had been a surprise to her, and she wished that he had not 
prepared anything additional. Her definite fear was that 
his idea might prove to be something barbaric and im- 
proper in the way of native dances; and she had a bad 
afternoon, not needing to go outside of her room to find 
it. But a little while after the sharp sunset the husk- 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 289 

colored chambermaid brought in a lamp, and Mr. Hitzel 
followed, shouting wheezily. He had discovered the 
surprise. 

" Hoopee ! " he cried. " Come look ! Bairta, come 
down ! It's here ! Come down, see who ! " He seized 
her wrist, hauling her with him. Bertha timorous and 
reluctant. ** Come look ! It's here, settin' at our dinner 
table; it's all fixed in the garten waitin'. Hoopee! 
Hoopee ! " 

And having thus partly urged and partly led her down 
the stairs he halted her in the trellised entrance of Mr. 
Helmholz's incongruous garden, a walled inclosure with 
a roof of black night. Half a dozen oil lamps left in- 
determinate yet definitely unfamiliar the shapings of foli- 
age, scrawled in gargoyle shadows against the patched 
stucco walls; but one of the lamps stood upon a small 
table which had been set for three people to dine, and the 
light twinkled there reassuringly enough upon common- 
place metal and china, and glossed amber streaks brightly 
up and down slender long bottles. It made too — not 
quite so reassuringly — a Rembrandt sketch of the two 
men who stood waiting there — little, ragged- faced, burnt- 
dry Helmholz, and a biggish young man in brown linen 
clothes with a sturdy figure under them. His face was 
large, yet made of shining and ruddy features rather 
small than large ; he was ample yet compact ; bulkily yet 
tightly muscular everywhere, suggesting nothing what- 
ever of grace, nevertheless leaving to a stranger's first 
glance no possibility to doubt his capacity for immense 
activity and resistance. Most of all he produced an im- 
pression of the stiflfest sort of thickness ; thickness seemed 
to be profoundly his great power. This strong young 
man was Mr. Helmholz's surprise for Bertha and her 
father. 

The latter could not get over it. " Supp'ice ! " he cried, 
laughing loudly in his great pleasure. " ' I got a supp'ice 
for you and Miss Bairta,' he tells me. * Comes efening 
dinnertime you git a supp'ice,' Jake says. Look, Bairta, 
what for a supp'ice he makes us! You nefer seen him 
before. Guess who it is. It's Louie ! " 



290 WAR STORIES 

" Louie? " she repeated vacantly. 

" Louie Schlotterwerz ! " her father shouted. " Your 
own cousin! Minna's Ludwig! Y'efer see such a fine 
young feller? It's Louie! " 

Vociferating, he pulled her forward ; but the new cousin 
met them half-way and kissed Bertha's hand with an 
abrupt gallantry altogether matter-of-fact with him, but 
obviously confusing to Bertha. She found nothing better 
to do than to stare at her hand, thus saluted, and to put 
it behind her immediately after its release, whereupon 
there was more hilarity from her father. 

" Look ! " he cried. " She don't know what to do ! 
She don't seen such manners from young fellers in Cin- 
cinneti; I should took her to Chermany long ago. Sit 
down ! Sit down ! We eat some, drink cless Rhine wine 
and git acquainted." 

"Yes," said Helmholz. "Eat good. You'll find 
there's worse places than Mexico to come for German 
dishes; it'll surprise you. Canned United States soup 
you git, maybe, but afterworts is Wiener Schnitzel and all 
else German. And if you got obyeckshuns to the way my 
waiters look out for you, why, chust hit 'em in the nose 
once, and send for me ! " 

He departed as the husk-colored servitress and another 
like her set soup before his guests. Schlotterwerz had 
not yet spoken distinguishably, though he had murmured 
over Bertha's hand and laughed heartily with his uncle. 
But his expression was amiable, and Bertha after glancing 

at him timidly began : " Do you " Then blushing 

even more than before she turned to her father. " Does 
he — does Cousin Ludwig speak English ? " 

Mr. Hitzel's high good humor increased all the time, 
and having bestowed upon his nephew a buffet of ap- 
proval across the little table — " Speak Eng-lish ? " he ex- 
claimed. " Speaks it as good as me and you ! He was 
four years in Eng-land, different times. Speaks Eng- 
lish, French, Mexican — Spanish, you call it, I guess — I 
heert him speak it to Jakie Helmholz. Speaks all leng- 
witches. Cherman, Louie speaks it too fest." 

Schlotterwerz laughed. " I'm afraid Uncle Fritz is 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 291 

rather vain, Cousin Bertha," he said ; and she was aston- 
ished to hear no detectable accent in his speech, though 
she said afterward that his English reminded her more of 
a Boston professor who had been one of her teachers in 
school than of anything else she could think of. " Your 
papa and I had a little talk before dinner, in German," 
Schlotterwerz went on. "At least, we attempted it. 
Your papa had to stop frequently to think of words he 
had forgotten, and sometimes he found it necessary to 
ask me the meaning of an idiom which I introduced into 
our conversation. He assured me that you spoke Ger- 
man with difficulty, Cotisin Bertha ; but, if you permit me 
to say it, I think he finds himself more comfortable in the 
English tongue." 

Mr. Hitzel chuckled, not abashed; then he groaned. 
" No, I ain't ! A feller can't remember half what his olt 
lengwitch is ; yet all the same time he like to speak it, and 
maybe he gits so's he can't speak neither one if he don't 
look out ! Feller can hear plenty Cherman in Cincinneti." 
His expression clouded with a reminiscence of pain. 
" Well, I tell you, Louie, I am gled to git away from there. 
I couldn't stood the U. S. no longer. It's too much ! I 
couldn't swaller it no longer ! " 

" I should think not," Louie agreed sympathetically. 
" Many others are like you. Uncle Fritz ; they're crossing 
the frontier every day. That's part of my business here, 
as I mentioned." 

Old Fred nodded. " Louie tellss me he comes here 
about copper mines," he said to Bertha ; " for after-the- 
war bissnuss. Cherman gufment takes him off the navy 
a while once, and he's come also to see if Chermans from 
the U. S. which comes in Mexico could git back home to 
fight for the olt country. Louie's got plenty on his hants. 
You can see he's a smart feller, Bairta ! " 

" Yes, papa," she said meekly ; but her cousin laughed 
and changed the subject. 

" How are things in your part of the States ? " he 
asked. " Pretty bad ? " 

" So tough I couldn't stood 'em, ain't I tolt you? " Mr. 
Hitzel responded with sudden vehemence. " It's too 



292 WAR STORIES 

much ! I tell you I hat to hate to walk on the streets my 
own city! I tell you, the United States iss Eng-lish 
lovers! I don't want to go back in the U. S. long as I 
am a lifin' man! The U. S. hates you if you are from 
Chermans. Yes, it's so! If the U. S. is goin' to hate 
me because I am from Chermans, well, by Gott, I can 
hate the U. S. ! " 

Bertha interposed: "Oh, no! Papa, you mustn't say 
that." 

The old man set down the wine-glass he was tremu- 
lously lifting to his lips and turned to her. " Why ? Why 
I shouldn't say ii ? Look once : Why did the U. S. com- 
mence from the beginning p;ckin' on Chermany? And 
now why is it war against Chermany? Ammunitions! 
So Wall Street don't git soaked for Eng-lish bonds ! So 
bullet makers keep on gittin' quick-rich. Why don't I 
hate the U. . S. because it kills million Chermans from 
U. S. bullets, when it was against the law all time to send 
bullets for the Eng-lish to kill Chermans? Ain't it so, 
Louie ? " 

But the young man shook his head. He seemed a little 
amused by his uncle's violent earnestness, and probably 
he was amused too by the old fellow's interpretation of 
international law. " No, Uncle Fritz," he said. " I 
think we may admit — between ourselves at least, and in 
Mexico — we may admit that the Yankees can hardly 
be blamed for selling munitions to anybody who can buy 
them." 

Mr. Hitzel sat dumfounded. " You don't blame 
'em ? " he cried. " You are Cherman offizier, and you 
don't " 

" Not at all," said Schlotterwerz. "It's what we should 
do ourselves under the same circumstances. We always 
have done so, in fact. Of course we take the opposite 
point of view diplomatically, but we have no real quarrel 
with the States upon the matter of munitions. All that is 
propaganda for the proletariat." He laughed indulgently, 
" The proletariat takes enormous meals of propaganda ; 
supplying the fodder is a great and expensive indus- 
try!" 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 293 

Mr. Hitzel's expression was that of a person altogether 
nonplused ; he stared at this cool nephew of his, and said 
nothing. But Bertha had begun to feel less embar- 
rassed than she had been at first, and she spoke with 
some assurance. 

" What a beautiful thing it would be if nobody at all 
made bullets," she said. " If there wasn't any ammuni- 
tion — why, then " 

"Why, then," said the foreign cousin, smiling, "we 
should again have to fight with clubs and axes." 

" Oh, no ! " she said quickly. " I mean if there wouldn't 
be any fighting at all." 

He interrupted her, laughing. " When is that state of 
the universe to arrive ? " 

" Oh, it could ! " she protested earnestly. " The people 
don't really want to fight each other." 

" No ; that is so, perhaps," he assented. 

" Well, then, why couldn't it happen that there wouldn't 
ever be any more fighting? " 

" Because," said Schlotterwerz, " because though peo- 
ples might not fight, nations always will. Peoples 
must be kept nations, for one reason, so that they will 
fight." 

Oh ! " Bertha cried. 

Yes!" said her cousin emphatically; he had grown 
serious. "If war dies, progress dies. War is the health 
of nations." 

"You mean war is good?" Bertha said incredulously. 

" War is the best good ! " 

" You mean war when you have to fight to defend 
your country ? " 

" I mean war." 

She looked at him with wide eyes that comprehended 
only the simplest matters and comprehended the simplest 
with the most literal simplicity. 

" But the corpses," she said faintly. " Is it good for 
them?" 

" What ? " said her cousin, staring now in turn. 

Bertha answered him. " War is killing people. * Well, 
if you knew where the spirits went — the spirits that were 



it 



294 WAR STORIES 

in the corpses that get killed — if you knew for certain 
that they all went to heaven, and war would only be send- 
ing them to a good place — why, then perhaps you' could 
say war is good. You can't say it till you are certain 
that it is good for all the corpses." 

" Colossal ! " the young officer exclaimed, vaguely an- 
noyed. " Really, I don't know what you're talking about. 
I'm afraid it sounds like some nonsense you caught from 
YankeedoUarland. We must forget all that now, wrhen 
you are going to be a good German. Myself, I speak 
of humanity. War is necessary for the progress of 
humanity. There can be no advance for humanity un- 
less the most advanced nation leads it. To lead it the 
most advanced nation must conquer the others. To con- 
quer them it must make war." 

" But the Germans ! " Bertha cried. " The Germans 
say they are the most advanced, but they claim they didn't 
make the war. Papa had letters and letters from Ger- 
many, and they all said they were attacked. That's what 
so much talk was about at home in Cincinnati. Up to the 
Lusitania the biggest question of all was about which side 
made the war." 

" They all made it," said Schlotterwerz. " War was 
inevitable, and that nation was the cleverest which chose 
its own time for it and struck first." 

Bertha was dismayed. " But we always — always " 

She faltered. " We claimed that the war was forced on 
Germany by the English." 

" It was inevitable," her cousin repeated. " It was 
coming. Those who did not know it were stupid. War 
is always going to come; afid the most advanced nation 
will always be prepared for it. By such means it will 
first conquer, then rule all the others. Already we are 
preparing for the next war. Indeed, we are fighting this 
one, I may say, with a view to the next, and the peace 
we make will really be what one now calls * jockeying for 
position ' for the next war. 

" Let us put aside all this talk of ' Who began the war,' 
and accusations and defenses in journalism and oratory ; 
all this nonsense about international law, which doesn't 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 295 

exist, and all the absurdities about mercy. Nature has no 
mercy ; neither has the upward striving in man. Let us 
speak like adult people, frankly. We are three blood 
relations, in perfect sympathy. You have fled from the 
cowardly hypocrisy of the Yankees, and I am a German 
officer. Let us look only at the truth. What do we see ? 
That life is war and war is the glory of life, and peace is 
part of war. In peace we work. It is work behind the 
lines, and though the guns. may be quiet for the time, our 
frontiers are always our front lines. Look at the net- 
work of railways we had built in peace up to the Belgian 
frontier. We were ready, you see. That is why we are 
winning. We shall be ready again and win again when 
the time comes, and again after 5iat. The glorious future 
belongs all to Germany." 

Bertha had not much more than touched the food be- 
fore her, though she had been hungry when they sat 
down ; and now she stopped eating altogether, letting her 
hands drop into her lap ; where they did not rest, however, 
for her fingers were clutched and unclutched nervously 
as she listened. Her father continued to eat, but not 
heartily ; he drank more than he ate ; he said nothing ; and 
during moments of silence his heavy breathing became 
audible. The young German was unaware that his talk 
produced any change in the emotional condition of his 
new-found relatives.; he talked on, eating almost vastly, 
himself, but drinking temperately. 

He abandoned the great subject for a time, and told 
them of his mother and brothers, all in war work except 
Gustave, who, as the Hitzels knew, had been killed at the 
Somme. Finally, when Cousin Louie had eaten as much 
as he could he lit a cigar taken from an embroidered silk 
case which he carrie4, and offered one to his uncle. Old 
Fred did not lift his eyes ; he shook his head and fumbled 
in one of his waistcoat pockets. 

" No," he said in a husky voice. " I smoke my own I 
brought from Cincinneti." 

"As you like," Schlotterwerz returned. " Mine come 
from Havana." He laughed and added, "By secret 
express ! " 



296 WAR STORIES 

" You ain't tell us," Mr. Hitzel said, his voice still 
husky — "you ain't tell us yet how long you been in 
Mexico." 

"About fourteen months, looking out for the com- 
mercial future and doing my share to make the border 
interesting at the present time for those Yankees you hate 
so properly, Uncle Fritz." 

Hitzel seemed to ruminate feebly. " You know," he 
said, " you know I didn't heert from Minna since Feb'- 
wary ; she ain't wrote me a letter. Say once, how do the 
Cherman people feel toward us that is from Chermans 
in the U. S. — the Cherman-Americans." 

His nephew grunted. " What would you expect? " he 
inquired. " You, of course, are exempt ; you have left 
the country in disgust, because you are a true German. 
But the people at home will never forgive the German- 
Americans. It is felt that they could have kept America 
out of this war if they had been really loyal. It was ex- 
pected of them; but they were cowardly, and they will 
lose by it when the test comes." 

" Test ? " old Fred repeated vacantly. 

The nephew made a slight gesture with his right hand, 
to aid him in expressing the obviousness of what he said. 
" Call it the German test of the Monroe Doctrine. Free- 
dom of the seas will give Germany control of the seas, 
of course. The Panama Canal will be internationalized, 
and the States will be weakened by their approaching 
war with Japan, which is inevitable. Then will come the 
test of the Monroe Doctrine ! We have often approached 
it, but it will be a much better time when England is out 
of the way and the States have been exhausted by war 
with Japan." 

Bertha interposed : " Would England want to help the 
United States ? " 

" Not out of generosity," Schlotterwerz laughed. 
" For her own interest — Canada." He became jocularly 
condescending and employed a phrase which Bertha 
vaguely felt to be somewhat cumbersome and unnatural. 
" My fair cousin," he said, " listen to some truth, my fair 
cousin. No nation ever acts with generosity. Every 



CAPTAIN SCHLOTTERWERZ 297 

government encourages the proletariat to claim such vir- 
tues, but it has never been done and never will be done. 
See what the Yankees are claiming : They go to war * to 
make the world safe for democracy/ One must laugh ! 
They enter the war not for democracy ; not to save France 
nor to save England; not to save international law! 
Neither is it to save Wall Street millionaires — though all 
that is excellent for the proletariat and brings splendid 
results. No, my fair cousin, the Yankees never did any- 
thing generous in their whole history ; it isn't in the blood. 
You are right to hate them, because they are selfish not 
from a glorious policy, like the great among the Germans, 
but out of the meanness of their crawling hearts. They 
went to war with us because they were afraid for their 
own precious skins, later ! " 

" I don't believe it ! " 

Bertha's voice was suddenly sharp and loud, and the 
timid blushes had gone from her cheeks. She was pale, 
but brighter-eyed than her father had ever seen her — 
brighter-eyed than anybody had ever seen her. " I don't 
believe it ! We went to war because all that you've been 
saying has to be fought till it's out of the world; I just 
now understand. Oh ! " she cried, " I just now under- 
stand why our American boys went to drive the ambu- 
lances in France, but not in Germany ! " 

Captain Schlotterwerz sat amazed, staring at her in an 
astonishment too great to permit his taking the cigar from 
his mouth for better enunciation. " We," he echoed. 

Now she says * we ' ! " His gaze moved to her father. 

She is a Yankee, she means. You hear what she 
says ? " 

" Yes, I heert her," said his uncle thickly. 

" Well, what " 

Old Fred Hitzel rose to his feet and with a shaking 
hand pointed in what he believed to be the direction of the 
Atlantic Ocean. 

What you subbose, you flubdubber?" he shouted. 
Git back to Chermany! Git back to Chermany if you 
got any way to take you! Git back and try some more 
how long you can fool the Cherman people till you git 'em 









298 WAR STORIES 

to heng you up to a lemp post! To-morrow me and 
Bairta starts home again for our own country. It's Cin- 
cinneti, you bet you! We heert you! It's too much! 
It's too much ! It's too much ! " 



*The Feminine Touch 



By George Weston 



Sometimes I am asked — the words may differ but the 
sense is the same : " Doctor, what is the strangest thing 
you saw at the Front — the one thing that would live in 
your memory even if you were to forget everything 
else?" 

It is evident that some of my questioners expect a cross 
section 6i battle, full of fire, fury and pathological detail ; 
while many, I think, would like to hear a story that ap- 
peals to the heart ; or possibly something supernatural — 
another vision of the Angel of Mons, another reappear- 
ance of departed heroes. And still there are some who 
seem to hope for something bizarre, with a strident laugh 
at the end like a machine gun suddenly heard from 
ambush. 

As a matter of fact it happens that the strangest thing 
I saw at the Front had an element of nearly all these 
qualities in it. And because though the story finds its 
climax on a battle-field in France it had its start upon an 
American transport, I will begin with telling you of my 
first meeting with Little Nell. 

It was on the third morning out from New York that I 
first saw him, and the moment he crossed my line of 
vision I began to have my doubts. 

" Hello," I said, watching him closely as he walked 
along the deck. " What have we here ? Is it Little Nell 
the Stowaway ? " 

* By permission of 7^e Saturday Evenittf* Post and George Weston. 
Copyright, 1 918, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 



299 



300 WAR STORIES 

Our steamer was a French liner, one of a convoy on 
its way to France, and I was talking at the time to the 
ship's physician, old Doctor Diderot of the warm heart 
and excitable tongue. 

** Leetle Nell the Stowaway — what you mean, mon 
amif" he breathlessly inquired, following the direction 
of my glance. " You t'ink we have a German spy in the 
meedle of us? Que diablel " he suddenly muttered, twiz- 
zling his grizzled imperial and looking more than ever 
like D'Artagnan in his later years. " I see now what 
you mean ! " 

By that time we were both looking at the figure that 
had caught my eye, and the longer we gazed the more 
assuredly I nodded my head, and the more vigorously 
Doctor Diderot preened his facial adornments, mean- 
while exclaiming under his breath : " Name of a name of 
a name ! " 

It was of course a girl masquerading in national-army 
uniform that we were watching. Neither of us, I can tell 
you, had the least doubt of that. I am not so old as I 
shall be some day, but first and last I have seen on the 
stage quite a number of young ladies dressed to imper- 
sonate men, but never yet have I seen one who could 
deceive the good physician. Not only are the lines of 
anatomy immutable, even when disguised in a loosely 
fitting coat and peg-top trousers — but the walk, the atti- 
tudes, the unconscious mannerisms, the glance of the 
eye — all these betray the impersonator^ especially when 
she tries to swagger or puffs at a cigarette as this young 
quasi soldier did, holding it awkwardly between thumb 
and finger and blowing out the smoke in a series of quick 
little puffs. 

"Que diahle!" repeated Doctor Diderot, the light of 
romance casting its glow over his handsome old face. 
" What you t'ink of it, eh ? Perhaps her brother has 
fallen on the field of honor and she goes to avenge 
him. . . . Or her sweetheart is among the grands 
blesses, and because she cannot join the Red Cross she 
adopts such a ruse to go nurse him. Jarni bleu, mon 
ami! " he joyfully added, delicately touching his lips with 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 301 

his finger tips, " upon the altar of such a bravery I lay 
the tribute of my profoundest admiration." 

With a gesture in which I know I saw nothing ridicu- 
lous at the time, he laid his kiss on the passing breeze, 
and then we both stood silent watching the subject of our 
remarks. ^' 

The graceful figure had stopped and was leaning over 
the rail, palm pressed tightly again^ the cheeks — an atti- 
tude that might have pleased a painter of pretty figures, 
but that would never have found favor in the eyes of a 
drill sergeant. 

" You see ? " continued Doctor Diderot, his excitement 
only equaled by his satisfaction. ** She dreams. It is 
even better than I had thought. You know what I have 
often told my friends, m'sieur ? * You wait,' I tell them. 
' This is a war of miracles, and the end, she is not yet. 
In the last grand crisis of French history it was Charlotte 
Corday who appeared, calm and tranquil like a moon- 
beam, and when she met the unspeakable Marat all the 
world at once became a nobler place to live. And in the 
next grand crisis before that who was it but Joan of Arc 
who came with a note like golden trumpets, and even the 
poor cold dead arise, warm with anger and rich with 
strength, to preserve for us inviolate the spirit of France. 
You wait,' I tell my friends. ' Some day the woman's 
hand may appear again like a thunderbolt and deal the 
grand decisive blow ! ' And now — who knows, m'sieur ? — 
it may be a woman from your own wonderful country 
who will place my name among the prophets! It may 

be that even now " His voice suddenly dropped to 

a quieter pitch. " Voyez! " he said behind his hand, " I 
think she comes our way ! " 

At the entrance to the ship's hospital the approaching 
figure stopped and looked first at me and then at Doctor 
Diderot. 

" Pardon me," said a gentle voice. 

" Certainly ! Certainly, mon brave! " bowed Doctor 
Diderot, his hand upon his heart, evidently warmed 
through and through by the adventure. The newcomer 
also bowed, and then they bowed together, a pleasant 



302 WAR STORIES 

little comedy of manners, and yet beneath and through 
it all I seemed to catch, even then, a glance of greater 
things to come. 

" Pardon me," said the gentle voice, " but is either of 
you gentlenie^ the doctor ? " 

Looking back at it now I should say that old Doctor 
Diderot and myself were probably the two biggest fools 
on the Atlantic Ocean that day, but not knowing it then 
we both bowed in a sort of gallant unison. 

" I have a tooth that is adiing dreadfully," continued 
our visitor. " Do you think you could extract it for me ? 
Would it be putting you to too much trouble ? " 

Almost before I can tell it Doctor Diderot had his 
patient in a chair by the side of his desk, and looking 
down at the curling eyelashes and slightly quivering lip 
I could have sworn to my suspicions. 

" Now," said my gallant old colleague, turning from a 
cabinet and. unconsciously tuning his voice for a lady's 
ear, " if you will be so kind as to show me, please, this 
naughty tooth. . . . Ah, yes. ... Of course. . . . 
Now first I will try him — oh, so gentle ! — to see if he is 
loose. . . . And then " 

There was a twist of the wrist, and the next moment 
the offending tooth was being held in front of the patient's 
eyes. 

'' Regnrdez!" laughed Doctor Diderot, his handsome 
old face alight with satisfaction. " So loose it was I 

could have coaxed it out with a few kind words, but 

Que diable, mon ami!" he interrupted himself, turning 
to me. " We guess' it right, you see ! " 

For the patient, who in the last few seconds had turned 
as white as the proverbial sheet, had suddenly given one 
desperate gasp — and had fainted. 

When I was considerably younger than I am now — a 
boy in short trousers living in those almost incredible 
years before there were any automobiles or moving pic- 
tures — I occasionally saw a magic-lantern show, the chief 
miracle of which would be a set of dissolving views in 
which one picture would slowly fade away upon the 
screen while another was as slowly taking its place. I am 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 303 

reminded of this by the change that took place in Doctor 
Diderot's patient when he fainted. 

A minute before, and we were convinced that he was 
a girl in disguise — a girl with a golden complexion and 
delicate wistful features; but when the pallor of un- 
consciousness drew the color from his cheeks we could 
see the downy but unmistakable shadow of a young 
mustache and beard slowly appear upon his face. I was 
still staring at this phenomenon and wondering whether 
Doctor Diderot had the joke on me or whether I had it on 
him when the door opened and an auburn-haired sergeant 
entered. 

" Oh, he's here, is he ? " demanded this latter visitor. 
" Cripes, he's had me running all over the ship after 
him ! What's the matter ? " he asked with a sheepish 
grin. " Did he faint away when you pulled it ? " 

" Keeled right over," I nodded. " Great stunt for a 
soldier. Is he in your company ? " 

" Yep; and I promised his mother I'd look after him; 
that's the woist of it. Sure he's all right ? " 

" Will be in a few minutes," I nodded again. 

" I'd better beat it then. I'm trying to put some ginger 
in the kid, and I wouldn't want him to know that I saw 
him like this. I used to work for his mother — see ? — and 
she made me promise to keep an eye on the kid " — up to 
this point his tone had been almost belligerent, but now it 
culminated in a rich burst of despair — " though God 
knows what I'm going to do with him when we get to the 
Front ! " 

He disappeared and a few minutes later our patient 
slowly followed him, looking more than ever like a girl in 
masquerade, though still groggy from his late uncon- 
sciousness and mixing his words a little as he bade us a 
polite good-bye. 

"Well, what do you think?" I asked Doctor Diderot, 
working fast to beat him to it as soon as we were alone 
again. 

" Well do I think? " he repeated in a thoughtful voice. 
" A beeg, beeg question, my friend, and yet of a kind with 
which I have often warm' the heart and expand' the 



304 WAR STORIES 

mind on a tedious voyage. Now you, yourself, have you 
ever been in the workshop of Rodin — Rodin the sculptor, 
who died the other day ? " 

It was what the orators call a rhetorical question, so I 
only shook my head. 

" It was a long time ago that I call' there with a friend," 
he continued, " in the days when I too dreamed of being 
a great man — another Pasteur, if you like — with a grand 
combination of vaccine for every disease which is ! Once 
a year, it is thus that I dreamed it, all the world would 
be vaccinate' with Diderot's Famous Formula. But la, 
la, la! — I start' to tell you of Rodin. It was just before 
he was discovered to be a genius that I called — and all 
round his workshop were beautiful busts and conventional 
figures which he had made — such as you see, perhaps, in 
any sculptor's workshop — in any good museum. 

." But in a corner behind a curtain was a figure on 
which the master was working — a what you call a freak ; 
yes? Beautiful? A thousand times, no! Classical? It 
is to laugh! It was, if you like, an experiment in the 
dark — the child of a crazy whim — a lunacy, judged by all 
that had gone before. But ah, mon ami, when at last it 
was finished it became La Penseur — a miracle in 
stone — a masterpiece in statuary for every race and 
age — and all the world hailed Rodin as one who had 
walked with the gods. 

" And so, my friend, you see the point I make to you 
as clearly as I dare ? Classical studies in human beings — 
conventional figures — they are made by proxy for all 
that we know. You look — mon Dieul — and soon you 
yawn to see so much that is always the same. But if in a 
corner of the workshop you suddenly come to what you 
might call a freak — yes? — the child, perhaps, of a whim 
divine — I charge you, mon ami, walk soft and keep silent. 
It may be that Someone watches the result of his experi- 
ment, and perhaps he would not like to hear you 
laugh." 

II 

I was leaning over the rail that night, thinking of this 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 305 

and that, when I heard a light step approaching, and al- 
most before I turned I knew who it was. 

" Good-evening, doctor," he said in his gentle voice. 
" I want to thank you for your kindness and courtesy in 
helping to pull my tooth this morning. My name is 
Leighton — Neil Leighton." 

He paused expectantly, full of his pretty manners ; and, 
grumbling a little, I fear, I gave him my name. 

" Oh, thank you, doctor," he said. " I was afraid 
you'd think I had no manners at all — the way I stalked 
off this morning just as soon as my tooth was extracted. 
But, do you know, I felt awfully thick and dopey. Else 
of course I wouldn't have been so rude." 

The moon was nearly full and under its radiance his 
face looked even more feminine than it had looked in 
the morning — feminine and refined and yet with such a 
wistful expression that it wasn't far from being tragic. 

"If there's one thing I simply can't bear," he con- 
tinued, " it's rudeness. Honestly and truly, it positively 
makes me shudder to be in the society of rude people." 
He cajne a little nearer and gently placed his hand on my 
arm in his appealing way. " Do you know, doctor," he 
said, " there are some terribly rude persons among the 
soldiers on this ship, but when I think of where they are 
going, and why they are going, and what they are going 
to do when they get' there — well, do you know, I can 
quite forgive them for it." 

" That's right," I nodded ; " when you look at it that 
way " 

He had come close to the rail and now he hummed an 
air as he looked out over the waters. 

" That's from La Gioconda — the ballet, you know," he 
told me. " Do you like the opera, doctor ? .... So 
do I. I think it's wonderful ! And the dancing? . . . 
Wonderful ! Oh, wonderful ! You know, I nearly took 
up dancing once, but mother didn't approve. So I kept 
to millinery ; that's mother's business, you know — Eloise, 
Incorporated, Fifth Avenue — and mother herself would 
tell you how successful my work has been. It's like 
everything else, I guess — a sort of a gift. This after- 



it 
u 



306 WAR STORIES 

noon, for instance, it came to me like a flash : A bonnet 
made like an aviator's cap and a plume on each side — to 
represent the wings, you know. Don't you think it would 
be cute ? " 

Well — the way you describe it " I hesitated. 

Mother says I inherited it from her," he nodded. 

So perhaps I inherited the stage from father. He was 
an actor — ^John Leighton — of course you've heard of him. 
Mother says that all the girls in New York were simply 
crazy ,over him — but she won him. Of course I can't 
remember — he died soon after I was bom — ^but we have 
a large oil painting of him, and I think he's quite the 
handsomest man that ever live4. Don't you think it's 
awfully nice to have some one in your life like that — 
some one whom you can look up to and idolize? " 

He was still looking over the sea, wistful, sad, and yet 
somehow still full of his pretty manners — reminding me 
now of a little bisque ornament that once adorned my 
grandmother's mantel-shelf — a little bisque figure of a 
courtier with a plum-colored coat and long silk stock- 
ings — a graceful little figure whose perpetual bow went 
perpetually unheeded, and who always looked lonely and 
friendless in that austere room in his station between 
the brass candlestick and the two stuffed squirrels under 
the glass bell. 

" You know, I shall never be like that," said Neil. " I 
shall never have any one to look up to and idolize me. 
Of course the girls at the store like me, and all that. A 
lot of them have known me ever since I was a little bit 
of a thing. But when they think I'm out of hearing they 
sometimes say the awfulest things — not about my work, 
you know, but about me personally, if you know what I 
mean. Now, you know, doctor, a man doesn't like that. 
A man doesn't like to be treated like a girl, and have little 
dolls sent him on his birthday, and all that sort of thing. 
A joke's a joke of course, all the world over, but a man 
doesn't like a thing like that, especially when it's going 
on all the time." 

No," I acknowledged, " it must be rather annoying." 
Oh, it is, doctor! It is! So with one thing and 



it 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 307 

another I finally said to myself when one of our delivery 
men enlisted and was given a lovely send-off — I finally 
said to myself : * I know what I'll do. TU show them the 
sort of a man I am! Til just go right straight out and 
enlist too ! ' Of course I could have gone as an inter- 
preter, because mother had me learn French and German 
so I could follow the Continental fashions. But I just 
wouldn't go as an interpreter. I finally said to them: 
* No, gentlemen, I'm going as a soldier or I'm not going 
at all.' And when they saw how dreadfully firm I was 
they let me have my way." 

At that, perhaps because he gave me such an appealing 
look, I gruffly patted him on the back. 

"Thank you, doctor," he said, holding himself more 
than upright. " I've always felt the way the poet felt, 
you know — ' A man's a man for a' that.' Well, I must 
turn in now. You don't know how much better I feel 
now I've had this little talk with you. Good-night, 
doctor." 

" Good-night." 

But still he paused, humming another air. "Mm-m-m- 
m-mm. . . . That's where the bogy man comes in — 
La Gioconda, you know. Mm-m-m-m-mm. Wonderful ! 
Oh, wonderful ! . . . Well, good-night again, doctor. 
I'm awfully glad I've met you." 

Ill 

• 

As it happened I didn't see much of Neil again until we 
landed and took up our quarters in Neufchatel. At the 
north end of the town near the river was an old chateau, 
which had evidently once stood proudly enough in the 
center of its own grounds. But as the city had grown 
new streets and rows of houses had been thrown out to 
the north like a slowly encroaching tide, and now the 
chateau, with a church across the street, was almost 
entirely surrounded by tiles and chimney pots, and had 
reached that stage of general seediness which is best 
described as shabby genteel. 

It was in this house that we established one of our tem- 
porary hospital quarters, taking the lower floor for cots 



3o8 WAR STORIES 

and supplies. As I needed an assistant who could speak 
French as well as English I put in a request that Neil 
should be assigned as my orderly — a request that was 
O. K/d with an obvious relief that wasn't exactly compli- 
mentary to my choice. 

" Oh, doctor," he said, full of his pretty manners as 
soon as he saw me, " if you only knew what a relief this 
is!" 

" Seems to be a relief to some of your officers too," 
I said without looking up from the instruments I was 
unpacking. 

" I know," he said at last in a low voice. " And the 
worst of it is I'm afraid they're right about it too.. I used 
to think I'd get over it, but the way I've felt these last 
few days I don't believe I ever, ever shall. It's just as 
mother says: It seems to be something that was bom 
with me, and I guess it wpuld need a knife to cut it 
out." 

Which wasn't far from the way I had sized it up my- 
self. " That's all right, too, my boy," I thought with a 
grim satisfaction. "By the time you've helped your 
Uncle Dudley for a month or two you'll think you've been 
trimmed with an ax." It was just at this point, I remem- 
ber, that the door opened and a visitor quietly entered. 

At first I thought she was a child, which was partly due 
to the subdued light that filtered in through the leaded 
windows; but the next moment I thought she was a 
woman, which was partly due again to her look of quiet 
sadness. As she came nearer, however, I guessed that 
she was about seventeen — a slight yet graceful little 
figure, but with that sorrowful look when her face was in 
repose which I had already noted as characteristic of 
many of the children in that part of France. 

Now my French is something like a beginner's short- 
hand. If the delivery is slow and the words are simple 
I can " take it down " in my n^ind with the best of them, 
but if the delivery begins to come too fast or the words 
are unusual I straightway run behind, snatching at a 
phrase here and there, but altogether lost so far as the 
gist of the matter is concerned. For this reason I was 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 309 

glad that Neil was present, because the girl hadn't spoken 
ten words when I found myself floundering. 

" Have the honor "—I caught that all right. And 
" America " — I doubt if America could get by me in any 
language. But after the girl had stopped, facing Neil 
and me and evidently waiting for an answer, I was about 
to offer a regretful '' Je ne comprends pas," when Neil 
first bowed to me, then at the girl, and trippingly made 
reply. 

From a word or two that I gathered here and there I 
judged it to be a pretty thing in its way — a deduction 
that was confirmed by the deepening look of satisfaction 
in the girl's eyes and the smile that slowly came to her 
face when Neil finished at last with another bow, his 
right foot advanced, his hand upon his heart, and re- 
minding me more than ever of that young bisque courtier 
that used to stand upon my grandmother's mantel- 
shelf. 

They talked together then, backward and forward, for 
a few minutes, and as I watched Neil with his pretty airs 
and graces I couldn't help thinking how well he har- 
monized with the scene. The old chateau, the high leaded 
windows, the quick musical speech — he seemed to fit 
them all as though they had been made to order for him 
long ago and had been waiting all these years for him to 
call. And when I looked at the girl standing there 
watching him with grave yet friendly eyes and answering 
him back from time to time — a gracious little figure, for 
all her sadness — I could almost have thought that Neil's 
wistful smile had been meant for her, too, the same as 
strange parts made in distant workshops often meet in a 
common assembly room and mesh together in a perfect 
contact of years. 

" This IS the young lady who owns the place," said 
Neil, turning to me and rapidly explaining. " The Ger- 
mans got the rest of the family in their summer cottage 
in the Vosges, way back when the war started, but they 
didn't get her because she was going to convent yet — near 
Paris. She just dropped in to make us feel welcome, she 
says, and to see if there's anything she can do for us." 



3IO WAR STORIES 

" She isn't living here all alone, is she ? " I cried. 

" No ; she's got her aunt with her. She said she turned 
the house over to the Americans on the one condition that 
she and her aunt could keep their apartment up-stairs in 
the south wing. I shouldn't be surprised if this was the 
old lady coming." 

A heavy step had been sounding along the corridor and 
now a grim-visaged Frenchwoman entered and stared at 
the scene with eyes that missed nothing. 

" Aunt Celeste ! " announced the girl, and while I was 
bowing, uncomfortably enough, my back and neck feeling 
stiff and intractable, from the comer of my eye I caught 
sight of Neil bent over in charming salutation, and a 
feeling swept over me which wasn't far from downright 
jealousy. 

" Never mind," I thought. " They'll find him out soon 
enough." 

It happened almost as quickly as I thought it. Neil 
and the girl were chatting away, and Aunt Celeste was 
standing by me watching and listening to them. 

" I like your yo'ng friend," she confided to me, smiling 
at something he said. It was just at that moment that the 
shell burst, falling out of a clear sky from the firing line 
nearly ten miles away and digging a deep hole for itself 
in the roadway between the chateau and the church across 
the street. It was the first shell that had ever visited 
Neufchatel, and it certainly made an impression in more 
ways than one. 

The conversation between Neil and the girl suddenly 
stopped ; that was to be expected. But instead of Neil's 
taking the girl under his wing, it was she, I soon per- 
ceived, who had to mother him. At first I thought he was 
going altogether to pieces, as when Doctor Diderot had 
pulled his tooth, but presently his pallor began to leave 
him, though he still kept his hand pressed tightly against 
his side. 

"Ah, flute!" said Aunt Celeste, frowning. "A nice 
yo'ng man, but I think he would make a good nurse. He 
has — ^what you call it ? — the feminine touch, is it not ? " 
And shrugging her shoulders she called across the room 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 311 

in her deep voice : " Rose-Marie ! I think it is time that 
we went, if you please." 

From what I have told you you might expect that 
when Aunt Celeste turned her face against Neil it would 
have given me a certain amount of satisfaction. 

But somehow it didn't. 

For one thing it raised, perhaps unconsciously, an inter- 
national question. When all was said and done Neil was 
one of my countrymen, and I could never quite get it out 
of my head that knowing himself as well as he did his 
mere enlistment was an act of heroism quite comparable 
to those deeds of valor for which other men receive 
medals and are mentioned in dispatches. Moreover, the 
longer I knew him the more I felt myself sympathizing 
with him because of his weakness, in the same way*, I 
suppose, as a mother often loves her afflicted child the 
best. 

I think that he roused a somewhat similar instinct in 
Rose-Marie's young heart, for though I sometimes caught 
her regarding him with that sad look of contemplation 
with which she had grown to regard so many things of 
the world, it didn't require any particular astuteness to 
notice how often they were together, and that no matter 
where Neil's work might take him Rose-Marie was seldom 
far away. 

We hadn't been at Neufchatel long when the chaplain 
began to get up a performance of Pinafore — ^being an 
earnest young man who had paid off a considerable part 
of the church debt back home by amateur performances. 
As you have probably guessed, Neil had a tenor voice, 
and as you can probably guess again, he was immediately 
and definitely cast as Josephine, the captain's beautiful 
daughter. I believe it's the same in nearly all army 
plays — the principal interest is roused by the way the 
boys get themselves up as young ladies, and Neil at once 
laid himself out — if I may use a vigorous phrase — to 
knock them all cold. Here, at last, was something in 
which he excelled, and I can see him now sitting near the 
window of my office that cold foggy day industriously 
sewing, while Rose-Marie sat close by, writing at times 



312 WAR STORIES 

in a blank book that she had in her lap, and at other 
times watching Neil with grave attention. 

"What are you writing, Rose-Marie?" I heard him 
ask her. 

" It is my diary," she told him, bending her head over 
to hide it, so that she looked more than ever like a 
child. 

" Read me what you have written to-day." 

" You may laugh," she said, bending over it still 
farther. 

" No, dear ; I promise you not to laugh." 

I imagined, somehow, that the girls at the Fifth Ave- 
nue shop called him " Dear," and that sometimes he used 
the expression himself without thinking, but when he said 
the words to Rose-Marie — " Non, ma chere" — I could 
see a deep look come into her eyes, and I fancied, though 
I may have been mistaken, that her lips trembled a little 
too. 

" Eh bien" she said. " I will read what I have written 
for to-day." 

Fortunately for my sense of curiosity she read slowly, 
and though they didn't know that I was listening I found 
myself able to follow it, every word. 

"Another week is finished. Another month draws to 
a close. Outside the fog is lifting and the little children 
and the birds are happy. But me, I am fatigued, I am 
sad, and also I am old. 

" Outside the little children and the birds make a great 
deal of noise. They have not the cold blood like me. 
They are young, happy, full of the joy of living. As for 
me, I am old and deplorable — moi, je suis vieille et de- 
plorable. Nothing that the world can offer will surprise 
me any more. 

" I have seen all there is to see. I have suffered all 
there is to suffer. I wish that I could be a little girl 
again with my mother and father and my two pretty 
sisters. I wish this war had never, never been. 

" I am watching my friend sew himself a grand dress, 
and though I like to watch him I find in this also some- 
thing that makes me sigh. It seems to me that I sigh 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 313 

always — ^that perhaps I was born with a sigh at my heart 
and can never be joyous again. 

" Eh bien, take courage. Happier days may yet arrive. 
Meanwhile, let us write no more. Instead I will watch 
my friend sew his dress for a time, and then I will go to 
the baker's." 

After she had finished there was silence for a while. 

" Why do you sigh, Rose-Marie," asked Neil at last, 
" at seeing me make a grand dress ? " 

" I don't know," she helplessly replied ; and perhaps be- 
cause one question begets another she presently asked 
him : "And you — why have you tears in your eyes as you 
make your grand dress ? " 

To which I expected another helpless " I don't know," 
and was glad to hear Neil answer instead : " I think they 
came when you said you were old and deplorable." 

" But when there are so many poor girls in France like 
me," she persisted, " why should you weep for me 
alone?" 

" I think," he replied with that simplicity which is born 
only in the heart, " it is because I love you." 

At that Rose-Marie rose slowly to her feet. 

" There," she said, " it is your own fault. I have to 
leave you." 

"Leave me; why?" demanded Neil, throwing his 
sewing down like a man.* 

" Because I made my promise to Aunt Celeste that if 
ever you speak to me of love or if ever you touch me I 
am to leave you at once and go up-stairs and say my 
prayers before my little prie-dieu'* 

She slowly approached him on her way to the door, and 
when she reached his chair she stopped. 

''Au vraiy she said, " I promised you shall not touch 
me, but I did not promise that I would never touch you." 
She lightly laid her hand upon his shoulder, and though 
I could swear that she meant to do no more than to bid 
him a smiling *'Au revoir, mon ami!'' they chanced to 
start looking into each other's eyes. What they both saw 
there I cannot tell you — what Neil asked by his glance 
and what Rose-Marie answered him — ^but suddenly she 



314 WAR STORIES 

lowered her head, Neil's lips gently touched her cheek, 
and the next moment she was gone. 

IV 

As long as I live I shall never forget that afternoon. 
In the first place it was to be our last day at the chateau. 
A hospital had been built south of the town and most of 
our effects had already been moved. In the second place 
the chaplain had suggested that we hold a dress rehearsal 
of Pinafore in one of the large rooms left vacant by the 
removal of the cots — a plan to which Rose-Marie had 
given bright-eyed approval. So as soon as she left us 
Neil began putting on the costume that he had made, but 
it didn't need a Sherlock Holmes to see that his heart 
wasn't in it. Once, indeed, he kicked a part of his 
raiment across the room and wickedly muttered "Damn !" 

" What's the matter, boy ? " I asked. 

" Oh, I'm sick of everything, doctor ! " he said. " I 
know it's terrible for me to talk this way, but I can't 
always have the disposition of an angel. I want to do 
something! I want to be somebody! The idea — dress- 
ing up like a girl when I ought to be out there fighting L 
It seems to me that everything in my life, somehow, has 
turned out just that way. 

" When I enlisted, honestly, I thought I would be an 
officer soon — a general or something like that — and when 
the war was over I imagined myself, wounded and lame, 
marching up Fifth Avenue at the head of my men, and 
little girls throwing roses and everybody cheering and 
crying together. But now — well, you can see for your- 
self how everything's going — just at the very time " 

He pulled himself short, for some of the other boys 
had arrived with their costumes under their arms. The 
chaplain was cast as Little Buttercup. A second lieu- 
tenant whose name I never caught was Captain Corcoran. 
A corporal with a subcellar bass was slated as Admiral 
Porter. But though they were all proud of their make- 
ups there was no dissenting voice to the verdict that 
Neil Leighton, as the beautiful Josephine, had everybody 
else skinned a mile. 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 315 

• 

" Some pippin, kid, believe me ! " said the corporal with 
the subcellar voice, and under their praise I was glad to 
see that Neil's mood was brightening. 

" They're going to move the piano in first," I whis- 
pered to him. " You run up-stairs for a minute and give 
the ladies a treat." 

Nothing loath he made for the stairs, and this is how 
Aunt Celeste told me about it later in her deep voice : 

" I had just sent Rose-Marie to the baker when all of 
a sudden I hear a rap-rap-rap upon my door. * Entei ! ' I 
ci*y and how I stare, for never in all my life have I seen 
such a beautiful lady as this yo'ng man of yours — what 
you call him? — Leetle Nell! At first — mon Dieu! — I 
cannot believe it possible, and it isn't ontil he show me — 
with, oh, such delicate care! — ^the bottoms of his panta- 
loons rolled up and out of sight — it isn't till then that I 
fall in my chair, and throw up my hands and laugh myself 
seeck till I cry. 

" M'sieur, it isn't his dress so much as his manner, nor 
his manner so much as his pretty face, and over all of 
this he has a charm — what you call the fatal gift of 
fascination, is it not? — especially when he p'tend to flirt 
with me, making the sheep's glances and turning away to 
geegle in his muif when I lower my voice and make re- 
sponse to his gallant advances. He has a hat, con- 
trived to cover his head and hide the short hairs, and over 
his face he wears a dotted veil through which he nearly 
breaks my heart with the coyness of his eye." 

Meanwhile we down-stairs were busy with the piano, 
rolling it through the hall to the room where we wanted 
it, and I had just gone back to get the stool when the 
storm broke. There was one tremendous roar, a splinter- 
ing crash, and the next moment the place where the piano 
had been was nothing but a torn and twisted hole in the 
floor — the piano no more to be found and identified than 
the happy boys who had been rolling it along the hall a 
moment before. 

" They must have thought we were using this place as 
a hospital yet," I remember thinking, and then to my sur- 
prise I discovered that I was in a heap in a corner of the 



3i6 WAR STORIES ' 

• 

hall, every rib in my body feeling as though it were 
broken, and a gash in my wrist. 

I was trying to make a tourniquet for this when I 
seemed to see the frightened face of Aunt Celeste. The 
next thing I knew I was in her room up-stairs and Neil 
was at the window staring through the lifting fog for 
Rose-Marie — staring and looking more than ever like a 
girl — a pale girl who trembled, and whose pallor and 
trembling both seemed as natural as the costume he wore. 

For half an hour one might have thought that every 
gun in the German Army was trained uponNeufchatel. 
Twice more the chateau was struck, the second shell 
bringing down the whole main body of the building and 
leaving little more than the south wing, where we were, 
the third wrecking one of the rooms next to ours and 
making a funnel-shaped hole in the floor. At last the 
bombardment stopped, and this time it was Aunt Celeste 
who went to the window to see if she could see any signs 
of Rose-Marie. 

Suddenly she dropped the curtain as though it burned 
her fingers and I heard her gasp to Neil: '' Mon Dieul 
The Germans — they must have come in the mist ! There 
was one big devil in the road who saw me at the win- 
dow — and he waved his hand and laughed at me — ^and 
started for the door " 

This time I think it was I who fainted, because for a 
time I remembered no more. 

"Ah, m'sieur," Aunt Celeste told me later, " it is in 
hours like that when we live a lifetime in a minute. To- 
gether we carry you into the leetle dressing-room next 
door, and I run for the revolver that I keep in my drawer. 
But my hand it shakes liKe a leaf in the wind, and I seem 
to have no strength to resist when Leetle Nell he takes 
the revolver from me and hides it in his muff. * Leesten,' 
he whisper', his voice shaking like my poor hand, ' he will 
think it was me at the window. You go and wait for 
Rose-Marie, for when she comes back she will need you.* 

" Even then I do not think he had a plan. But me, I 
begin to see a light, and I join you in the wardrobe, and 
fasten my eye to the filigree cross in the door. 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 317 

"I had hardly set myself when a beeg blond boche 
appears. Leetle Nell was standing by the table — ^pale, 
with a beauty like a broken rose — and looking, ah, so 
helpless and so sad ! 

" There was no talk, m'sieur, between those two. It 
all transpire' in pantomime. As soon as the soldier per- 
ceives her he place' his rifle in a corner with the manner 
of man who says: *Ah, heaven, what luck is mine, and 
how appropriate' you have reward' a German soldier ! ' 
It was with a terrible laugh that he approach' her, mon 
ami, and it was with the same terrible laugh that he 
died — the hand in the muff so close to his heart that the 
bullet could not miss. 

" It is then that I reappear and help to carry him in the 
next room. One leetle push and he slides down the 
broken floor, and through the hole to the cellar so far 
below. 

" ' That is one,' says Leetle Nell to me in a voice that 
does not tremble quite so much ; and catching his mean- 
ing I look at him and marvel that whereas many a girl 
in France to-day must be a man before she can be a 
wV)man, here was a boy who must be a woman before he 
can be a man. 

" I was still thinking of this when another feetstep 
sounds on the stair, and I had hardly hid myself when 
the door opens and in comes another so beautiful boche. 
He had, I thought, an air of suspicion, as though he came 
on the search for an absent friend, but when he sees the 
helpless figure of Leetle Nell trying to hide behind the 
door he, too, laid down his rifle, and almost as quick as 
I can tell it he, too, was in the cellar, comparing notes, 
if the dead commune, with his absent friend below. 

" * That is two ! ' says Leetle Nell. This time his voice 
doesn't tremble at all, and I think to myself: 'Eh bon! 
If his beauty holds out and the cartridge' continue old 
Kaiser Bill will wake up soon and find he has lost his 
army ! ' " 

All this time, it seems, heavy fighting had been going 
on in the streets, which were now quite clear of fog; 
but the Germans had the two advantages of surprise and 



3i8 WAR STORIES 

numbers. As a result they steadily won their way to 
the south of the town, and the streets round us grew 
comparatively quiet. The next thing I remember, Aunt 
Celeste and Neil were anxiously talking of Rose-Marie. 

" She just about had time to get to the baker's," Aunt 
Celeste was saying, " and Madame Boulager — I know her 
well — would hide her in the cellar. Now that the street 
is empty again I will run along and see " 

A pause followed and I guessed that Neil was cautiously 
looking through the window. 

" There's an officer standing on the steps of the church," 
he said ; " and just inside I think I see a soldier. If we 
could get them away from there you might have a chance, 
but not as it is." 

And after another pause I heard him say: " If we could 
only get that officer away from there ! " 

In the ensuing silence I heard the curtain rings moving, 
and when a minute later Aunt Celeste excitedly whis- 
pered : " There ! He has seen you ! He looked right at 
you then ! " it wasn't hard to guess what was in the 
wind. 

Often lately I have thought of that German officer 
and h9w surely he held his fate in his own two hands. 

"Ah, flute!" muttered Aunt Celeste, who was evi- 
dently peeping through the curtain. " He still stands 
there on the steps of the church, and now he lights a 
cigarette and frowns at the match. Ah, flute, he will not 
come. He thinks, perhaps, of a wife of his own at 
home — and daughters, too, of the age of our little Rose- 
Marie. Eh bien, 1 do not condemn him for that." 

Yes, surely if ever a man held his fate in his own two 
hands it was that frowning officer, the subject of a grim 
and epic justice. A text of antiquity came to my mind : 
" None but a man's own self can destroy him," and in 
that, at least it seemed to me, the German officer on the 
steps of the church might be said to typiiy the whole 
nation for which he stood. • 

"Aha!" suddenly whispered Aunt Celeste. "Voyes! 
At last ! At last he comes across the street ! " 

For the third time she hid herself in the dressing-room 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 319 

where I was concealed and placed her eye to the cut-out 
cross in the door. 

"Ah, m'sieur," she told me later, " the officer and his 
men — there was nothing to choose between them in the 
bottom of their hearts, and when the muff is pressed 
against his side he drops to the- floor, and this is the 
paper that falls from his cap and lies at our feet." 

It was a typewritten order from the General Staff — a, 
good example of German attention to detail — and also, 
characteristically enough, it was headed " Confidential." 
It is too long to quote in full, but later I copied a trans- 
lation of the following paragraph: 

" Upon entering Neuf chatel, therefore, you will imme- 
diately seize each belfry that is not destroyed. Place a 
trustworthy man in charge of each, with orders to ring 
the bell in peals of thfee for at least five minutes if he 
hears the other bells ringing in similar manner. Should 
the enemy seriously threaten to cut off your rear you will 
be advised. In that event you will start the bells ringing 
as above; on hearing which your officers will at once 
withdraw their men from Neufchatel and fall back with 
all speed across the Aisne/* 

"Ah, yes, m'sieur/' continued Aunt Celeste, "and at 
first when I read it I mourned, ' Helas! We have killed 
the bird which lays the golden tgg, for there is no one 
now to give the order to ring the bells for the grand re- 
treat.' But Leetle Nell he looks at me, and I tremble too 
when I see the inspiration that of a sudden comes into his 
eye. 

" ' Grace a Dieul ' he cried. * It is I who will start the 
bells ! ' And almost before I know it he is down the 
stairs, his hand in his muff, and he disappear' in the 
church across the street. 

" I had not long to wait, m'sieur. In less than a minute 
the Bell of Saint Surplice ring' out ' Tong, tong, tong ! ' 
With a sob and a catch in its throat, so eager and mourn- 
ful it rings. At first I am in torment that the others will 
not join, but soon the bell of Notre Dame swings on her 
higher note, * Tong, tong, tong ! ' And then I hear Saint 
Marie's, deeper than either ! And then Saint Peter and 



320 WAR STORIES 

Paul, which is flat, with a crack! Then all along the 
streets I begin to see the Germans hurrying back the way 
they had come, with our brave soldiers still worrying 
away at them, though more than ever outnumbered, and 
making me think of a big mad bull rushing back to his 
field with a brave leetle terrier fighting and nipping 
him on. 

"And that was how it happen'. In half an hour there 
was not one living boche in all the town, onless a prisoner, 
and when I run to the baker's to see if Rose-Marie was 
safe I found her coming home with Leetle Nell, who was 
dress' at last in a soldier's coat that he had found from 
somewhere; and the way those two they look at each 
other — God knows, m'sieur, I was glad to see it so. 

" That night our reserves arrived, but the wonder on 
every man's tongue was why the* Germans had given up 
the town when once they had it safe. So early next 
morning I thought to myself : ' Eh bien, at least it will 
please Rose-Marie if he has a medal,' and I went and told 
them who it was who had won such a victory for France 
the day before. In half an hour they sent for Leetle 
Nell and — well, you shall see for yourself what they did 
it to him ! " 

It was in the new hospital that Aunt Celeste had been 
telling me this, and though I couldn't turn my head I 
saw her nod to some one at the other end of the room. 
A moment later Rose-Marie walked round my cot — a 
gracious little figure, no longer old and deplorable, but 
radiant with tender pride and happiness — and behind her 
who should come but my friend Little Nell ! 

It needed only one glance to see how he was changed — 
one glance to see that never again should we call him 
Little Nell. He was dressed in the uniform of a second 
lieutenant, with a row of medals across his chest that 
any man in France that day might well have envied. 
But it wasn't those things that I liked to see so much as 
it was the way he held himself, and the calm confidence 
of his glance as he seated himself on the side of my cot 
and lightly placed his hand on mine. 

" Well, old boy " — ^he smiled, his other hand in 



THE FEMININE TOUCH 321 

Rose-Marie's — "we're only waiting for you to get 
better." 1 

" I promise you I shan't be long," I reassured them. 

Over his shoulder I noted with satisfaction the respect 
with which the others were watching him, and then I saw 
for the first time that in the sleeve of his coat was a dis- 
colored bandage winding up his arm. 

" Hello," I said. " How did you get that ? " 

" Oh, that's nothing," he replied. " When I ran into 
the church to ring that bell — well, there were three Ger- 
mans there instead of one, and the last one certainly tried 
his best to stop me. . . . Perhaps now I'm here, 
though, I might as well have it dressed." 

Though I couldn't turn my body, at least I could use 
my hands, and after he had removed his coat I started to 
unwind the bandage. I hadn't unwound many turns 
when it began to stick, and remembering what had hap- 
pened in Doctor Diderot's chair I stopped and looked at 
him. 

"Oh, that's all right," he said. "Give it a pull!" 
And lowering his voice so that none but me could hear 
it, he added in a tone of smiling reproach : " You don't 
want Rose-Marie to think I'm a sissy, do you ? " 



APPENDIX 



THOMAS BEER 

Thomas Beer (bom. Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1889) 
completed his education at Yale and Columbia Univer- 
sities. He enlisted in the Army, in 1917, and for a time 
served as a private in a regiment of Field Artillery. 
Later he won his promotion to First Lieutenant. He has 
always had a predilection for writing ; and his war stories 
may be regarded as first-hand impressions of the man in 
the ranks. His first story under his own name, " The 
Brothers," was published in The Century, in 1917. 

ALDEN BROOKS 

Alden Brooks (born, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1883) spent 
the years of his early childhood in France and England. 
He returned to America to school, graduating from Har- 
vard in 1905, but after his marriage went again to France. 
He hoped in the seclusion of some French village to find 
the peace and quiet essential to his wife's painting and 
his own writing; but the advent of war upset his plans. 
He became in turn an ambulance driver, a war corre- 
spondent, and a Lieutenant in the French Army. Born 
of these experiences is his book of stories, " The Fighting 
Men." 

DANA BURNET 

Dana Burnet (bom, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1888) gradu- 
ated from high school in 1907, and from the College of 
Law, University of Cornell, in 191 1. He was a reporter 
on the New York Evening Sun from 191 1 to 191 3; an 
editor from 1913 to 1915, and has been a special writer 

323 



324 APPENDIX 

since that time. He is a frequent contributor of stories, 
poems, and essays to various magazines, and has pub- 
lished several books. Mr. Burnet is a keen observer, with 
a fund of sympathy and humor, which hold the interest 
of the reader. 



(( 



DONN BYRNE " 



Bryan Oswald Donn-Byme (born, New York, in 1888) 
was educated abroad, receiving a degree at the University 
College, Dublin, in 1909. He took post-graduate work 
in English, in Paris and Leipzig, returning to New York 
in 191 1. He has done journalistic work for the New 
York Evening Sun and Brooklyn Eagle, and been a fre- 
quent contributor of short stories to leading magazines. 
He is an athlete, an authority on boxi|ig, and interested 
fai sports generally. 

JAMES FRANCIS DWYER 

James Francis Dwyer (bom, Camden, N. S. W. Aus- 
tralia, 1874) received his education in the common schools 
and the broader school of the world. He has traveled 
extensively in Australia, the South Seas, and Africa. In 
1906 he reached England and, a year later, came to 
America, where he has done the bulk of his literary work. 
He is the author of the following : " The White Water- 
fall," " The Bust of Lincoln," " The Spotted Panther," 
and " Breath of the Jungle." 

GILBERT EMERY 

As the author of " Squads Right " wishes to keep his 
real name a secret, we can only say that he served with 
distinction as an officer in the United States Army in 
France. His stofy reveals the fact that he has been not 
only a close observer but an excellent interpreter of 
army life. 

EDNA FERBER 

Edna Ferber (bom, Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1887) was 
educated in the schools of Appleton, Wisconsin. She 



APPENDIX 325 

began her literary work as a reporter on the Appleton 
Daily Crescent, when she was seventeen years old, con- 
tinuing with the Milwaukee Journal and Chicago Tribune, 
With this as a foundation, she began her magazine work 
in 1910. Her first story, published in Everybody's, " The 
Homely Heroine," won ready favor, as have many suc- 
ceeding ones dealing with the joys and sorrows of mer- 
cantile life. 

Some of her best known stories are : " Dawn O'Hara," 
" Buttered Side Down," " Roast Beef Medium," " Per- 
sonality Plus," " Emma McChesney & Company," and 
" Fanny Herself." Her writing is marked by a vein of 
quiet humor and hard common-sense. 

MARY MI-^CHELL FREEDLY 

Mary Mitchell Freedly (born, Philadelphia, in 1894) 
is a granddaughter of A. Weir Mitchell, physician and 
author. She has specialized in sociology, and made a 
personal study of conditions surrounding the working- 
girl. For a time she was manager of the Philadelphia 
Trades School for Girls. She is not a voluminous writer, 
but her work is marked by sympathy and power of 
analysis. 

MARGARITA SPALDING GERRY 

Margarita Spalding Gerry (born, Washington, D. C, 
in 1870) is a Wellesley graduate, who taught literature 
in the Washington high schools for several years. Her 
husband was a man of fine literary instinct, and it was 
at his suggestion that she began to write. Her first 
magazine story was a sketch of college life published in 
Ainslee's. Since her husband's death in 1908, writing 
has been her profession instead of her pastime. Her 
best known story is probably "The Toy Shop," which 
won her instant recognition. 

DONAL HAMILTON HAINES 
Donal Hamilton Haines (bom, Kalamazoo, Mich., in 



326 APPENDIX 

1887) was graduated in 1909 from the University of 
Michigan. His literary career began in his high school 
days, when he became editor .of the school paper. In 
college he became connected with The Inlander and The 
Michigan Daily, He engaged in writing for magazines 
after graduation, and has continued ever since. He has 
made a close study of the War and his fiction has natu- 
rally taken this direction. He has had this interest since 
boyhood, and now owns a collection of lead soldiers 
which, he does not believe, can be duplicated. It consists 
of 1,100 soldiers, representing thirty-two nations, all cor- 
rectly uniformed. " Bill " was written from personal 
experiences at one of the big training camps, and shows 
" the real thing." 



> GOUVERNEUR MORRIS 

Gouverneur Morris (born, New York, in 1876) bears 
a distinguished name. He is a direct descendant of 
Gouverneur Morris the Revolutionary patriot. The 
present Morris obtained his higher education at Yale, 
whence he graduated in 1898. He early won his spurs 
in the short story field, and his name is now well known 
among magazine writers. His books include : " The 
Penalty," " A Bunch of Grapes," and " We Three." 

WILLIAM HAMILTON OSBORNE 

William Hamilton Osborne (born, Newark, N. J., in 
1873) early turned his attention to law, and graduated 
cum laude at the New York Law School. He has been 
a lawyer in active practice in the states of New Jersey 
and New York; but has been also a prolific writer of 
short stories. During the last fifteen years he has had 
representation in practically all the popular magazines in 
the country, over five hundred of his stories being pub- 
lished. He IS also the author of five novels : " The Red 
Mouse," " The Running Fight," " The Catspaw," " The 
Blue Buckle," and " The Boomerang." His stories deal 
with law, business, politics, crime, and mystery. He is 
a striking example of the accidental author, never having 



APPENDIX 327 

written a line of fiction until he was nearly thirty years 
of age. 

WILL PAYNE 

Will Payne (bom, Whiteside County, 111., in 1865) re- 
ceived a common school education, between intervals of 
farm work. For ten years he lived in central Nebraska, 
then came to Chicago, in 1890, where, as he says, he 
launched himself, with a good deal of difficulty, in the 
newspaper world. He wrote first for The Daily News; 
then became financial editor of The Chronicle and The 
Economist. He finally won recognition in short stories, 
and has contributed to many magazines. His first book, 
" Jerry the Dreamer " (1896), has been followed by "The 
Money Captain," and others. 

LAURA SPENCER PORTER 

Laura Spencer Porter (Mrs. Pope) is well known as 
an essayist and short story writer. Her stories which 
have attracted most attention are : " The Wished- for 
Child," and " Spendthrifts," published in The Atlantic; 
"The Idealist," "Mixed Marriage," and "The Boy's 
Mother," published in Harper^s. Important essays from 
her pen in The Atlantic are: " My French School Days," 
" Guests," and " Birthdays and Other Egotisms." Mrs. 
Pope is the author of several volumes of essays and 
stories, which are marked by individuality and distinction. 

GEORGE PALMER PUTNAM 

George Palmer Putnam (bom. Rye, N. Y., in 1887) is 
a member of the family which for three generations has 
been connected with the publishing house of G. P. Put- 
nam's Sons. He commenced his higher education in 
Harvard, and completed it at the University of California. 
For the last ten years he has been intermittently a resi- 
dent of Oregon, where he has been active in political 
aifairs. He has also edited the Bend Bulletin. Mr. 
Putnam has been something of a world wanderer, and has 
written many newspaper and magazine articles concern- 



328 APPENDIX 

ing his travels. He is also the author of the following 
books : " The Southland of North America," " In the 
Oregon Country," and " The Smiting of the Rock." 

FRANCIS W. SULLIVAN 

Francis W. Sullivan (bom, Evanston, 111., 1887) was 
graduated from Lafayette College in 1908, with the de- 
gree of Ph.B. The next year he spent in graduate study 
at Columbia University, obtaining his M. A. in 1909. 
He engaged in newspaper work in New York, writing 
for The Mail and The Evening Sun; besides contributing 
verses and short stories to The Century, Metropolitan, 
Ladies' Home Journal, Munsey's and other magazines. 
He is author of the following novels : " Children of Ban- 
ishment," "Alloy of Gold," and " Star of the North/' 

ROBERT W. SNEDDON 

Robert W. Sneddon (bom, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1880) 
has received a cosmopolitan training. After studying 
Arts and Law at Glasgow and living in Edinburgh, Lon- 
don and Paris, he came to New York in 1909 to do free 
lance work. His first contribution appeared in Judge, 
and he wrote humorous skits for three years. His first 
short story, " Little Golden Shoes," was printed in The 
Forum in 1812. Mr. Sneddon writes directly and spon- 
taneously, without corrections. He is not strong on 
plots, relying chiefly on the clearness and strength of his 
characterizations. His style is simple, unstudied, and 
natural. 

BOOTH TARKINGTON 

Newton Booth Tarkington (bom, Indianapolis, in 
1869) has become one of the foremost figures of con- 
temporaiy American letters. His education was obtained 
at Phillips Exeter Academy, Purdue University, and 
Princeton (1893). The latter university has since con- 
ferred upon him the honorary degrees of A. M. and 
Litt. D. Mr. Tarkington lived abroad from 1903 to 



APPENDIX 329 

1910, and the. old- world flavor crept into some of his first 
literary successes, notably " Monsieur Beaucaire." " The 
Gentleman from Indiana" (1899) and the successful 
play, " The Man from Home," also laid the foundations 
of his later reputation. He has written plays, novels, 
and short stories, turning from one medium to another 
with facility. In " Penrod," and "Seventeen" he has 
shown keen insight into the psychology of boyhood and 
budding youth. 

GEORGE WESTON 

George Weston (bom. New York, in 1880) received 
a high school education and afterwards studied law. 
Turning from this profession, he became interested in 
engineering, and founded The Western Engineering 
Company. In 1900 he joined the staff of The Evening 
Sun, New York, but it was not until ten years later that 
he published his first short story, perhaps fittingly entitled, 
"After Many Years" (Harper^s), He has since con- 
tributed stories to various magazines. He is fond of 
country life, and is an enthusiastic farmer, sportsman, 
and motorist. 



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